A 3D-printed bionic hand developed by prosthetics startup Open Bionics is the recipient of the 2015 Uk James Dyson Award for design engineering innovation.
The Open Bionics hand is made to be more affordable and quicker to generate than numerous of the prosthetics currently available for amputees, which can expense in between £3,000 and £60,000.
Taking just 40 hrs to 3D-print, the robotic hand is developed from customized pieces made to match amputees’ limbs exactly.
Wearers can be fitted with the bionic hand less than two days soon after being scanned – a stark contrast with numerous other possibilities which can take weeks or months.
The hand is printed in 4 lightweight elements, manufactured from flexible plastic materials that makes it much more resistant to injury incurred by falls or through everyday use.
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Electromyographic sensors – which detect muscle motion – are attached to the skin and utilised to control the hand. By flexing their muscle groups, wearers can choose whether to open and close the hand or grip objects.
The hand’s “smart” fingers have also been developed to sense when they are in contact with an object to prevent wearers from accidentally crushing objects they are holding.
The designer intends to add new parts that will further replicate the structure of a biological hand by mimicking bones and ligaments.
“Open Bionics is not just focusing on the functionality of the device we’re focusing on producing 3D-printed hands that amputees will enjoy wearing,” founder Joel Gibbard stated in a statement.
“We want them to be fashionable, inspiring for kids, and even have a handful of added capabilities to one-up the human hand. We’re consistently working with amputees to build these desirable products.”
Open Bionics intends to make the hands offered for buy by the 2nd half of 2016 for less than £1,000. The hand will also be open source to inspire customers to customise and share their own patterns.
Gibbard, who studied Robotics at Plymouth University, initially raised much more than £40,000 to help him produce a prototype of the hand on crowdfunding platform Indiegogo.
As winner of the United kingdom James Dyson Award, Open Bionics will acquire £2,000 and will also be entered into the Worldwide Dyson Award, with a prize of £30,000.
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The award – named following British inventor James Dyson and which “celebrates, encourages and inspires the up coming generation of design engineers” – has previously been given to a sustainable trawler fishing net, a method that extracted water from the air like a desert-dwelling beetle, and a strap-on exoskeleton arm for humans to lift hefty weights.
The pace and ease of 3D-printing is having a significant effect on health care technological innovation as designers use it to improve existing instruments.
Graduate Jake Evill proposed a 3D-printed lightweight and ventilated edition of the cast, although researchers at the University of Cambridge have worked on the following generation of 3D-printed nose and ear replacements for people with facial disfigurements.
In an extract from Print Shift, Dezeen’s one particular-off publication about 3D printing, editor Claire Barrett reported on the developing quantity of health care applications utilizing the technology, and questioned how quickly prior to 3D-printed organ transplants would turn out to be a actuality.