When Samantha Payne strode on to a Berlin stage to demonstrate her company’s Disney-themed limbs for child amputees, the 26-year-old UK entrepreneur stole the show. "We wanted to turn people with disabilities into superheroes," the co-founder of Bristol-based Open Bionics told the Global Female Leaders conference in April. As she spoke, a 10-year-old boy dubbed "Jedi Logan" flashed up on the screen beside her, sporting a Star Wars-themed robotic hand. Wearing ripped jeans and her hair in a plait, Payne explained that the software was open-source. This meant anyone could download the code to 3D-print a basic robotic hand, which is controlled by sensors that pick up muscle movements from the wearer’s skin. To obtain the Disney superhero look, customers would have to buy prostheses from Open Bionics, which aims to sell the hands for less than £10,000 — substantially less than the prevailing price range of £30,000 to £50,000. Just before Payne, Pippa Malmgren, a 55-year-old former White...

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