Microsoft’s 343 Industries has partnered with bionics non-profit Limbitless Solutions to create Halo-themed, 3D-printed prosthetic arms for children. The prosthetic arms are fully functional, with hands that are capable of gripping objects through EMG sensors. The best part is, they’re donated free of charge to recipients.
Starting next year, Limbitless will add two Halo-themed options to their design lineup, which already includes a pretty sweet Iron Man arm. There’s a recreation of Master Chief’s Mark VI gauntlet in his trademark green, as well as a “multiplayer” version that kids can customize with their favorite color — so if they play with a certain color Spartan in the game, they can wear that same gauntlet in the real world.
Visually, it looks remarkably accurate and true to the game’s aesthetic. It’s also not the first time in recent memory Microsoft has worked to bring accessibility to gamers. The company recently released its Xbox Adaptive controller for players with disabilities, which has two large programmable buttons and 19 jacks that can connect to joysticks and other accessories for people to play games on Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs.
Microsoft isn’t the only company that’s collaborated with Limbitless, as Riot developers recently partnered up with the company during its biannual Thunderdome hackathon. Riot developers worked with Limbitless to create five League of Legends-themed prosthetic arms, landing on Odyssey Jinx, Star Guardian, Shurima, Illaoi, and Maokai designs. The five designs will also be available to kids in 2019.
Limbitless says that games are a great gateway for kids to feel comfortable with their new prosthetic arms, and so the company makes its own video games to help kids adapt to their 3D printed arms. EMG sensors pick up on different flex patterns on the arm, which allow the user to control the fingers. With video game-inspired prosthetic arms that look this cool, maybe kids can be empowered to feel like heroes.
Originally published in The Verge by Dami Lee on December 18, 2018