Founder of Bristol-based Open Bionics Joel Gibbard has been awarded Young Design Engineer of the Year in the British Engineering Excellence Awards. Joel’s work on robotic prosthetic limbs saw him beat competition from Matti Coleman, a mechanical engineer working at the Culham centre for fusion energy and George Lyle, an engineer from Strainstall.
Current prices for robotic prosthetic limbs can cost between £25,000 to £50,000. Under Joel’s management, Openbionics have used 3D printing and an open-source approach to bring the price down to as little as £650, and a working prototype has already been developed.
This prototype was unveiled on the Open Hand Project’s Vine last Monday, where you can watch 23-year-old Daniel Melville use a robotic prosthetic hand developed by Open Bionics for the first time.
“[Technology] can be used for good on a huge scale and creative innovators are very much needed to push for this”
Judges at the British Engineering Excellence Awards said competition for the award was “tightly fought”, and said Joel was a “…highly motivated, dedicated young engineer with multidisciplinary skills and an impressive record of achievement already”.
Joel said: “I was lucky to have been nominated and feel even luckier to have won. The whole event inspired me to think of the future of engineering.
“Advances in technology have the power to change lives for the better. It can be used for good on a huge scale and creative innovators are very much needed to push for this. Just think of the possibilities for future generations.”