Robert Downey Jr. won't be able to personally deliver them like he did for one lucky child who got a bionic prosthetic hands from Open Bionics for much cheaper than traditional prosthetics., but soon child amputees around the world will be able to get their very own Iron Man, Star Wars or "Frozen"-themed
Open Bionics is a Bristol, England-based company that uses 3D printing technology to make bionic hands for amputees at a fraction of the cost of traditional prosthetics.
The company is part of Techstars Disney Accelerator's 2015 class, a startup accelerator that gives a small group of companies access to the creative expertise and resources of The Walt Disney Company to build new Disney-inspired things that make an impact in the fields of entertainment and technology.
Through this program, Open Bionics used Disney's creative talent to create a line of superhero bionic arms for children with some pretty spectacular designs. The designs include a red Iron Man gauntlet with a vibrating repulsor, one of Elsa's sparkling blue gloves from the hit 2013 movie "Frozen," and a Star Wars-themed arm that lights up with colored LED lights.
People have designed superhero-themed prosthetics before -- like theseand , for example -- but Open Bionics' arms are the first to be officially sanctioned by Disney and will be the first such product to be widely available to the consumer.
As part of the accelerator, Disney granted Open Bionics royalty-free licensing for its properties, which combined with Open Bionic's apparent knack for creating cheap-but-functional 3D-printed prosthetics should keep the devices pretty cheap, especially compared with typical prostheses that can cost upward of $20,000 (about £13,000, AU$27,000).
Company founder Joel Gibbard told The Independent that his Disney bionic hands will cost around $3,000 (about £1,950, AU$4,100) and should be available to purchase before the end of 2016. So there could be more little Jedi Knights, ice-powered queens and Iron Man superheroes saving the world with their supercharged bionic arms as early as next year.
Gibbard's company also founded the Open Hand Project, which provides completely free source materials and instructions for users to 3D print and build their own Dextrus bionic hand. The company also , an annual design competition for students.
You can see Open Bionics' traditional prosthetic arms in action in the video below. More information about exact pricing and availability of Open Bionics' line of Disney-themed bionic arms will be available closer to their expected release in 2016.
Correction, October 14, 9:05 a.m. PT: The article originally misstated the price of the Disney bionic arms. Gibbard tells CNET they're expected to cost around $3,000 (about £1,950, AU$4,100).