Tech advances let everyone have more fun.
Motorcycling as a sport and a pastime is often relegated to those of us who have typical limb structure. The advent of computer imaging and 3-D printing, along with increasing processing power and smaller and smaller processors means the world of prosthetic limbs is now creeping into bionics and we’re all better for it.
April is Limb Loss / Limb Differences Awareness Month. To that end we bring you a bionic arm concept from a forward-thinking design student, Tom Hylton. Motorcycles are for the most part built for people who have present and functioning hands, arms, legs and feet, but that shouldn’t mean that folks without them are barred from the sport.
This bionic arm attaches to the rider at the shoulder, and plugs into the handlebar of the motorcycle. It does not require the use of a hand or palm, even if the rider has them. The rider can accelerate and decelerate the motorcycle through the arm without using a hand on a traditional twist throttle.
It has been designed for professional motorcyclist amputees to have a more direct input to the motorcycle they’re riding. No current prosthetic arm is well-designed to work a throttle or brake levers. The potential application is obvious and exciting for all riders who have lost a limb or potential future riders who were born without.
The designer of the arm, Tom Hylton, explains it: "The bike and the prosthetic communicate with each other and the rider to calculate appropriate lean angles and aid body positioning, it will also eject with the rider in the event of an accident. It Is modular to suit trans-humeral and trans-radial amputees and I’m currently designing a leg to go with." Trans-humeral means loss of the arm above the elbow, and trans-radial below.
The arm is currently only a concept and not in production or available for purchase, and a whole lot more design and development will need to go into both the arm and the motorcycle it will eventually attach to, but I’m all the way behind things like this that make the world better and more accessible for everybody. Riding motorcycles is super fun, and everyone who wants to do it ought to be able to!