This is seriously one of the most beautiful and brilliant creations I’ve ever seen. Losing a limb is traumatic enough, but the stigma of wearing a prosthesis can be quite harsh, especially for younger children. Enter the IKO, a hot-swappable prosthetics system that lets the user exchange a boring old rechargeable 4-fingered hand with one they build themselves using the Lego MindStorm system. Yes, this setup actually lets children become Lego (or possibly Mega Man or one of the Borg, depending on your geek persuasion.)

Here’s a shot of the standard hand and arm, which are also both fully Lego compatible:

And here’s a happy young lad who just built his first Lego “hand” (complete with laser blaster) who will undoubtedly spend the rest of his life repeating the catchphrase “Groovy” at every available opportunity.

You can watch their full presentation video below. No word on price or when it might become commercially available, but I can say right now, if I lost a limb, this is the first and only model I’d want. (Unless of course they came out with an adult model that was compatible with erector sets.)

Obviously, Lego bricks aren’t renowned for their structural integrity, and it’s doubtful that most kids could build themselves a functional hand stronger than the base model, but that’s not the point. The point is that it immediately takes a physical disability and turns it into pure awesomeness.

Besides, the kid who spends his pre-teen years tinkering around with this model will probably have such an intuitive grasp of mechanics that by the time he’s in college, he’ll have already built his own fully functional Iron Man suit.

Kudos for Mental Floss for bringing this amazing device to my attention.