Interview - Bionic - GenUnlimited Winners
The team invented a 3D printed bionic arm (electronic prosthesis) that works via muscle sensors reading the muscle impulses of the forearm and is intended for people who are missing an upper limb
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Young people have an undiscovered amount of imagination and creativity. Our imagination can sometimes be unusual, so some would say unattainable. But some young people have a special gift, a gift to turn fantasy into reality. A reality that adults, businessmen and companies have been striving to achieve for years. Today I want to introduce you to some of my peers who have crossed all boundaries, broken all stereotypes and are proving to the world that we, young people, are capable of much more than adults think we are.
A successful example of this is the Bionic team - Orhan, Teo, Anamaria and Boris - one of the winning teams in the national Generation Unlimited Youth Challenge. Bionic is one of the two teams selected to represent our country in the global Generation Unlimited Youth Challenge. They were challenged to create digital solutions that support more active inclusion of children and young people with disabilities in education and everyday life.
This interview offers you the opportunity to learn more about these outstanding high school students and their amazing product.
Matej: What exactly is your product?
Bionic: Our product is a 3D printed bionic arm (electronic prosthesis) that works via muscle sensors reading the muscle impulses of the forearm and is intended for people who are missing an upper limb.
Matej: How did you come up with the idea for your product?
Bionic: Our team strives to create innovative solutions that will help people in their everyday life. It was precisely this aspect that was our main inspiration to participate in this project. And the main idea for the product comes from the designer in our team, Orhan.
Matej: What benefits does your product bring to people with disabilities?
Bionic: One of the main features of the bionic arm is its low price, which makes it affordable to all who need it, and this means that even people from less developed countries will be able to afford to have a bionic arm. Also, this arm will come in different sizes, i.e. it will be upgradeable for children and teenagers whose bodies are continuously developing.
Matej: What are the advantages of your product compared to other similar products?
Bionic: Our product is made on the principle that any person in need of a bionic arm can download a free 3D printing model and print it, order other parts online and assemble the arm within 1-2 hours without any prior experience. So, it can be concluded that we do not charge for delivery, labor and profit to the manufacturer and supplier. These features make our bionic arm at least 28 times cheaper than other bionic arms currently available on the market.
Matej: What was the role of each member of the BIONIC team?
Bionic: Orhan was responsible for the design, Teo was in charge of programming, Boris was managing the social networks, and Anamaria created the website.
Matej: What was your inspiration and motive to create this product?
Bionic: We were outraged by the unnecessarily high prices of bionic arms existing on the market and we were aware that this could be changed if bionic arms became available online (Open Source).
Matej: What reactions do you get?
Bionic: So far, we have received many positive comments about the functionality of the arm and its entire design. We are proud that within such a short time many people liked the whole idea and showed interest in cooperation.
Matej: How long did it take you to build the final prototype of your design/product?
Bionic: At the three-day workshop held in December, we developed the first prototype, while we made the final product in the period for project implementation and improvement set the by the Generation Unlimited competition itself. In total, it took us 5 months to make the product.
Matej: What does it mean for you to participate in such a competition?
Bionic: The very theme and idea of this competition is to create a product that will be useful and of great help to society. And the very feeling of contributing to the creation of a better future for everyone is something that cannot be explained in words.
Matej: What is your experience from the competition and workshops in which you participated and were you surprised when you found out that you were the winners in the local round of the Generation Unlimited Challenge?
Bionic: The experience was fantastic. We gained a lot of new skills and knowledge. We were very surprised after the victory in the challenge, but also happy because of the opportunity given to us to improve the product.
Matej: What does your global placement mean to you?
Bionic: We are overjoyed that we managed to reach this level. The fact that we managed to qualify this far brought us a lot of confidence and courage to continue.
Matej: What message would you like to share with all young enthusiasts?
Bionic: We would like to send a message to young people to follow their dreams and that by hard work, will and cooperation anything can be achieved. In every situation, perseverance and grit are the hardest option, but they always lead to success. Mistakes and bad moments are an integral part of every great success, but instead of trying to avoid them, we need to learn how to fix them and not give up. It’s a fact that it’s easiest to give up, but in this way, we only suppress our desires and ambitions and become the same as others. Be different and give your best. Nothing is in vain. Beautiful moments and happiness always come at the end, and they are a reward for a job well done.