RAEng-backed soft prosthetic gets medical greenlight


A customisable soft prosthetic developed by two young London entrepreneurs has attained its CE Mark, clearing it for medical use.  

Three-year-old Hero from Herefordshire is one of the first people in the world to benefit from a Mitt, which has enabled her to use her right arm to draw and paint with for the first time.

Mitt Wearables’ prosthetic arm is soft and adaptable, making it a user-friendly and affordable option for children, who rapidly outgrow standard prosthetics and are often not offered them as a result. In comparison to traditional prosthetic limbs that can cost several thousand pounds, each ‘Mitt’ will cost less than £500. The design is based on sportswear that is lightweight, comfortable and easy to put on.

“Listening to users, there is a clear need for affordable, comfortable and functional prostheses that can help people continue to do whatever it is they are passionate about – whether that’s cooking, painting, using an iPad, drumming, or any number of specific tasks,” said company co-founder Ben Lakey.

“Traditional prosthetic arms are not only expensive but tend to be heavy and uncomfortable to wear. We’ve taken a very different route with Mitt. Instead of trying to mimic a hand, we’ve created an arm and a range of simple tools that can be attached and swapped as required. And the feedback we’re receiving has been just amazing.

Lakey (27) and co-founder Nate Macabuag (24) received support from the Royal Academy of Engineering Enterprise Hub after Nate won the People’s Choice Award at the Hub’s 2018 Launchpad Competition for young entrepreneurs and Ben was awarded an Enterprise Fellowship.

“The support from the Enterprise Hub has been invaluable, providing us with counsel from not only Britain’s top engineers, but also the practical business skills we needed to launch our company,” said Ben.

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The two young entrepreneurs are supported by the Enterprise Hub to help try and turn their innovation into a sustainable, successful business. With more than 70 million people affected by limb loss around the world, and with 90 per cent of those currently unable to afford any kind of prosthesis, Mitt Wearables’ ambition is to rapidly scale the business.

“Nate and Ben are inspiring engineers, and Mitt was a deserving winner of the People’s Choice Award at Launchpad,” said Elspeth Finch, head judge for the competition.

“We’re excited to see their business launch across Europe and expect it to grow rapidly. They have addressed a clear gap in the market for lower cost, easily customisable prosthetic limbs, and we expect there to be global demand for their design. Mitt is a fantastic example of the best of British engineering innovation.”

Mitt Wearables has been trialling its product with users for the past two years and is planning an official launch for next spring. The prosthetic will be available from Mitt’s website and anyone interested in being among the first to get one can join the beta launch waiting list at www.wearmitt.com.

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