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Makers Hive working on a bionic arm

The cost of the arm and the medical services will be about Rs 2 lakh, which the company claims to be one-fifth of the lowest priced alternative available from the UK.

Hyderabad: Hyderabad-based startup Makers Hive is working on a bionic or artificial arm to help those who have been amputated below the elbow. The cost of the arm and the medical services will be about Rs 2 lakh, which the company claims to be one-fifth of the lowest priced alternative available from the UK. Maker Hive is finalising the product specifications and is looking to launch it at the Consumer Electronics Show to be held at Las Vegas in January, said its Chief Executive Officer Pranav Sharma.

The artificial arm can exhibit 16 grips with different torque levels that will help people deal with their daily chores. “The grip for holding an egg is different from the one lifting a weight. The bionic arm will be able to do all these,” he said, adding there will be full position control — both opening and closing.

The arm uses myoelectric bionics to track electrical impulses released in the body while attempting to work with hands. This will be a non-invasive medical device and the company is applying for a certification (13485) from the ISO. It is looking to work with organisations such as the WHO for making the product easily accessible.

“We will develop stylish shells. We want to use some designs that are seen in comics. The effort is to infuse confidence in those who have suffered accidents,” said Sharma This will be for both right and left arms.

“We have a case where a woman does not have one hand and so cannot hold her baby like normal mothers. I am sure our bionic arm will help her do that. That will be a great feeling,” he said.

As per 2011 census, there are 5.4 million people who are movement-impaired. Of this, a significant number of people had sufferred accidents below the elbow. “The degree of amputation is different for each. We will 3D scan the hand and come up with a customised design in three days,” he said. The company plans to have the life of the arm for over five years.

“ It will be a lego-like thing and worn out parts can be replaced easily without the need to buy a full arm again,” he said, adding that it is applying a patent for motors, wrist movement and mechanics used in bionic arms. It is also looking it making it waterproof. “We wash our hands many times a day and that should continue with the artificial arm as well,” he said.

Manufacturing Unit The startup is looking to set up a manufacturing and assembly unit in Hyderabad or Pune. “We are aiming to sell 20,000 bioinc arms in 2019,” he said. It would partner hospitals, NGOs and government bodies apart from direct sales.