This ‘Human Lab’ Seeks to Help People Build Their Own Assistive Technologies

For the majority of amputees worldwide, a prosthesis is not an option. For people with disabilities, particularly those living in developing countries, the limits to what they can achieve in life can be insurmountable.

Autor*in Annalisa Dorigo, 07.05.16

For the majority of amputees worldwide, a prosthesis is not an option. For people with disabilities, particularly those living in developing countries, the limits to what they can achieve in life can be insurmountable. Through a mix of digital manufacturing tools and sharing of knowledge, this organisation is turning amputees and those with disabilities into inventors, helping them to create their own solutions to issues that matter to them.

According to Handicap International, one billion people worldwide (or 15 per cent of the global population) suffer from some form of disability. The majority live in developing countries, where poverty, inadequate housing conditions and public infrastructure pose very real limits to their health and quality of life, hindering their access to education and work, as well as their social and civic participation, therefore perpetuating a vicious circle of social exclusion and inequality.

My Human Kit, aims to bring people and technology together to develop solutions to people’s disabilities: through a mix of digital manufacturing tools, such as 3D printers and laser cutting, an open-source data sharing online platform, and the inventors’ own ingenuity, they seek to help develop a range of products that alleviate for example partial or total blindness, deafness, or mobility issues.

Key objective is not just the development of accessible, affordable and replicable solutions that are easy and cheap to maintain and repair, but to empower the very people that need those solutions to be the makers of the tools via workshops or so-called ‘Human Labs’. In their own words: “The object is to demonstrate and propagate ‘Human Lab’ workshops where humans will learn how to repair themselves worldwide”

My Human Kit, who are based in France but who have also been expanding their innovation spaces in other countries, are currently busy developing a number of projects:

  • Bionicohand – an affordable bionic hand/muscle controlled upper limb prosthesis that can be easily self-repaired without the need to send it back;
  • Sonar Glove – at a cost of 50 USD, this is another affordable tool to help those suffering from blindness to remotely track objects;
  • Open Wheelchair – this is My Human Kits’ version of the American project Open Wheelchair, again with affordability and replicability in mind;
  • Binoreille – a hearing aid to help people suffering from total deafness in one ear answer the phone;
  • Sound catching – a tool that seeks to help deaf or partially-deaf people perceive sounds through other senses, such as sight, sense of smell, and touch;
  • Print My Leg – this is a 3D printing and open source technology project that seeks to create customised leg prostheses for less than 100 EUR;
  • Project Shiva – to support the development of ‘aesthetic’ prosthetics, that is prostheses that are also visually appealing, and that people can afford without the need to break the bank.

[More on the above can be read here]

To move forward with all these amazing projects, My Human Kits relies on contributions from people all over the world, in terms of knowledge sharing, but also ‘scan donations’, whereby children and adult can donate a 3D scan of one of their upper limbs, that can then be downloaded for free by those who lack access to 3D scanners and who may need a 3D prothesis.

My Human Kit will be showcasing their work at the Maker Faire in Nantes on 9 and 10 July, where people will also be able to get involved with ‘scan donations’.

You can watch a short video about their work here:

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