Samantha Payne

Career tips from a future shaping tech pioneer

We've scoured the country to find 2016's hot new innovators: the game-changing women transforming the way we live and work. Meet Samantha Payne, one of the winners of our Future Shapers Awards in association with Neutrogena...

The tech pioneer: Samantha Payne, 25
Payne is the co-founder of Open Bionics, a robotics start-up that creates affordable, new-gen bionic hands for amputees.

The future of robotic prosthetics is changing. We are bringing science fiction to life using cutting edge engineering to help amputees feel less like clinical patients and more like superheroes from their favourite comic book or action movie.
Embracing individuality is key. People shouldn’t feel like they need to blend in – that’s why we don’t produce human-like hands. Instead, we encourage everyone to enjoy being different.

People have waited all their lives for this technology. We made the first lightsaber bionic hand for a 10-year-old boy, Logan, who was born without a hand. He didn’t like the prosthetic one that he was given by doctors because it didn’t move, and it looked a bit strange. But his face lit up when he wore our creation for the first time and realised how easily he could use his bionic fingers, and change the lights in his arm to flicker – just like a real lightsaber!

Samantha Payne

Samantha Payne

Big ideas often happen in unexpected ways. I met my now co-founder – a robotics engineer – when I was a tech journalist and I was sent to interview him. 
Neither of us had any business background but we had a big idea that we believed in. Luckily, Berkeley University believed in it too, and it funded me through a three-month, crash-course masters degree in business. The most important lesson I learnt on that course was to always know your customer.

Bring on the criticism. If one of our ideas doesn’t work, it’s not the end of the road; it’s actually the beginning of the next bigger, better idea. If there’s a new piece of tech that hasn’t been used for prosthetics before, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try it.

#passion ‘The best way to achieve a goal is to commit to it, no matter what it takes.’

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