by Cristian Curmei from https://www.autoevolution.com
If you’ve ever had an accident that caused you to lose functions of a certain body part, you might be able to imagine what it may be like for an amputee. A new design is looking to change all that and offers a second chance to a once lost love.
Every once in a while, a human comes along and changes the rules of the game. Out of struggle and hardship amazing designs to meet unconventional needs are born. This time, the story is about how we can continue our favorite past-time of riding motorcycles even after accidents would leave us incapable of naturally doing so.
A designer by the name of Tom Hylton, an intern at Jaguar, has designed an innovative solution for amputees who would still like to take that Sunday ride. A bionic arm bearing the Honda sigil. More so, it’s even capable of being taken out to the racetrack, on paper anyway.
This design is still a concept so I’m not sure how soon we would be seeing it on actual riders, but that doesn’t mean that it deserves any less respect. Taking into consideration that it offers the ability to continue being a rider even after a limb-losing accident, this device is one of the more promising designs around.
As you can see, the design revolves around your basic human arm, but with a few less functions. For example, the arm includes only a bicep, triceps, elbow and forearm. No palm component, that we normally use for throttling or picking things up, exists. Instead, the arm has a pincer like end that should allow it to connect to any throttle stick. So, it’s specifically made for motorcycling and nothing else.
That being said, the arm does include a few components that allow is to add to riding value. One of the downsides of non-bionic riders, for lack of a better description, is that we have flesh. And if you’ve ever experienced road rash at 50 miles per hour, imagine what it’s like at 100 or even 150 mph speeds experienced by professional riders. This is why we use and see protective gear on motorcycle equipment, to help us from losing our own fleshy components.
Because the arm is robotic, it means that the materials used in its composition and build can be designed with specific purposes. And that’s what happens here as well. Due to the possible use of materials such as carbon fiber and even titanium, the forearm and elbow design was created in such a way as to act as a protective component. Meaning if you need to take a turn a bit sharper than usual, just lean into it and use the arm as a skid plate.
Another trick this robotic arm has up its inexistent sleeve is that it’s modular. The arm itself can be used separately. The first piece, the forearm, can be used as a standalone prosthetic for amputees that have had a trans-radial accident.
The second and third piece, the elbow and bicep prosthetic, is to be used by trans-humeral amputees. This modular ability allows for the prosthetic to be suitable for other forearms that may be needed to perform different functions other than riding a motorcycle. This further extends it’s applicability and suitability to meet market needs.
Let’s be real here, if Honda ever puts anything like this into production, it won’t just be given away for free. It is a product, and products need a market, or in this case, to meet a market need.