Prosthetics company calls for bionic limbs to be available on the NHS

'Bionic limbs should be available on the NHS,' is the call coming from a technology company specialising in making state-of-the-art prosthetics for young amputees.

Open Bionics, based in Bristol, is transforming lives by turning science fiction into reality, using 3D printers to create lightweight limbs that cost a fraction of the tens of thousands they would have cost previously.

Open Bionics co-founder Samantha Payne said: "We have created the most affordable multi-grip bionic hand, so it's at a price point that's affordable enough for NHS healthcare."

The bionic limbs are made using a 3D printer. Credit: PA

She added: "We wanted to create a bionic technology that was very advanced but available, democratically, to the masses."

Due to their cost, weight and the time it took to build them, bionic limbs, before this technology, never used to be suitable for growing children - now Open Bionics believe they've found the solution.

Co-founder Samantha Payne hopes the technology could be available for children on the NHS from as early as next year. Credit: ITV News

Tilly Lockey, a 13-year-old from Newcastle who had her hands amputated due to meningitis complications, is one of the children taking part in the clinical trials.

Commenting on her bionic arms she said: "There's sensors on the inside and when I squeeze my muscles it closes it and when I flex my muscles it opens it.

"I feel like they've made me so much more confident. I used to go out and hide the fact that I had no hands, but obviously it makes it a lot more fun and interesting doing it with these hands."

Before the technology was developed it used to cost tens of thousands to produce a bionic limb. Credit: ITV News

She added: "They help me multitask, like I was at the cinema the other day and I was able to hold a tub of popcorn and then hand over the ticket with my other hand."

Tilly says when she was younger meningitis almost killed her, but thanks to her new bionic hands she says she was able to fight back and win.

Open Bionics hopes the technology could be available for children on the NHS from as early as next year.