Affordable 3D Printed Robotic Prosthetic Hands
Emerging technologies like 3D printing and 3D scanning can radically reduce fitting-time and medical cost for hand amputees. Prosthetics no longer have to be heavy, flesh coloured, functionless cosmetic hands, or alienating hooks that are difficult to operate. They can be affordable, robotic, incorporate LED lights, and resemble superhero hands like Iron Man! We aim to start 3D printing these robotic prosthetics of the future, particularly for children. Robotic hands enable amputees to have greater freedom. This is life changing technology but current robotic hands are inaccessible. These prosthetics can cost between £20,000 - £100,000. Children have few options when it comes to prosthetics and expensive robotic hands are ruled out because they have to be upgraded at least once a year. This can financially cripple families, so, we plan to sell our robotic hands for under £1,000. Our custom-fitting robotic hands will have the same functionality as high-end robotic hands but weigh and cost much less. They’ll also be fashionable so amputees actually enjoy wearing them and want to show them off. The sleek designs celebrate limb differences. Our robotic hands will enable amputees to do everyday tasks easier, like getting dressed, carrying objects, and brushing hair.
Insight & Impact
We've talked to over 50 hand amputees. We’re working with Dan, who was born without a right hand and we're in touch with a group of amputees, including six-year-old Charlotte who lost her limbs to meningitis. Charlotte's mum wants a prosthetic that'll enable her daughter to dress herself easier and gain independence. We've had many emails telling us what it'd mean to people if they could get one of our hands for themselves or family. A mum in the US said it'd be a ‘gift from God’ to give her son our hand. The problem of access to advanced prosthetics is global. We’ve had emails from India, Ukraine, Gaza, Egypt, and more. We use 3D printing and 3D scanning to quicken the fitting procedure, lower the cost, and inject some creativity into the design. An issue with prosthetics is the alienating look. A mum from Ireland asked if we could 3D print her son a power ranger hand, and it's possible! Families don’t want to give their children a hook or cosmetic. Kids want prosthetics that makes them happy and proud of their difference. Users of advanced prosthetics said they're too heavy to be comfortable, so we've halved that weight. Amputees want greater freedom and independence. Here's potential to impact lives in amazing ways everyday.
Skills needed for this project
- muscle sensor researcher, mechanical engineer