3D Printing A Beautiful Prosthetic Hand For A Stranger

3D Printed Prosthetic Hand

Here’s a story that made us feel all warm and tingly on the inside. [Evan Kuester] is currently studying his Masters in Architecture with a specialty in digital fabrication. His program has access to some nice 3D printers, and he was itching for a good project to use them for. Why not a 3D printed prosthetic hand?

He got the idea after noticing a fellow student on campus who was missing her left hand, and did not have any kind of prosthetic. Eventually he worked up the nerve to introduce himself to her and explain his crazy idea. She thought it was brilliant.

Using Rhino, [Evan] began modeling the prosthetic hand using a plugin called Grasshopper. He wanted the hand to be functional as well as aesthetically pleasing, so he spent quite a while working with [Ivania] to make it just right. His first prototype, the Ivania 1.0 wasn’t quite what he imagined, so he redesigned it to what you see above. It’s a beautiful mixture of engineering and art, but unfortunately the fingers don’t move — perhaps an improvement for version 3.0? Regardless of functionality, [Ivania] loves it.

Oh, and [Evan] and [Ivania] are close friends now — in case you were wondering.

85 thoughts on “3D Printing A Beautiful Prosthetic Hand For A Stranger

      1. Really, impressing women (or men) with your technological prowess is something you’d considering moderating out of the forum? The wireless powered engagement ring is in the same emotional quadrant as this story. (except, as Francie in the comments pointed out, this hand was not functional).

        1. So building a hand for a stranger and building an engagement ring for someone you’re in a committed relationship for is equivalent to you. Thank you for that enlightening look into your depths. My wife of 24 years and I had a good laugh over it.

        2. Yeah, Brian has seemed a little “high-horse-y” lately. Like one too many people complained about the HAD-Prize community voting or something, and he just snapped. I figured the trip to Defcon would’ve lifted his spirits some, but it doesn’t seem so. :P

      2. Well, how almost brave of you, Brian :/

        While half of the comments here are accusing the kid of being creepy for making something nice for a peer, many of the commenters themselves are being genuinely creepy (like the ones below making masturbation jokes, the above friendzone comment, etc).

        A change in moderation policy to make the site less hostile towards women would be magnificent, but I won’t hold my breath.

      3. Ignore stupid comments like most of us do.
        I’d rather concentrate on that girl’s expression. Despite of what she had to suffer she is still capable of showing strength and warming our hearts with such a sweet smile. That’s a lesson some idiots should learn from.

  1. Yet one more way into a woman’s heart.
    Evan, you’re going to singlehandedly change geeks reps from being clueless and self centered toward being caring with style. The mesh section keeps the weight down and helps with flexibility and comfort. Have you tried silicon coating the inside? Posable and lockable into position would keep it simple and add functionality.

  2. ya know i gotta say good for him for printing something out to help her but 2 things get me. one his end game motives, if it was really all for a class then good for him, otherwise the dude is just creepy. next and imho more important is he is printing something for her that is just as useless as not having a hand there to begin with. it is a paperweight and nothing more than bling. if it were functional which many others have already done, just google it there are pages of people already with usable hands then it would have been something nice. to me this is nothing more than a 3d printed tramp stamp sorry for the cynicism….

    1. Considering the smile on the young lady’s face, I suspect that it has function. What that function is is left as an exercise for the reader.

      Motives, perhaps he is an altruist, or perhaps he is that strange sort of a person who when he sees a problem looks for a solution and (occasionally) implements it.

      Cynicism, nope, that’s not cynicism, that is paranoia. I suggest you see a psychiatrist, psychologist, or a priest.

    2. Why creepy? What’s wrong with being attracted to her AND wanting to help her out with the skills he has at hand? I say kudos for a) having the idea and b) having the nuts to approach her and ask if she was interested. Nothing creepy at all.

          1. Sorry guy, but I just showed this to my wife, and she thought the guy was sweet and that it was a very nice gesture, especially from a stranger, there’s absolutely nothing creepy about this at all… Also, she said that if ever she loses a hand, she wants one just like it.

    3. I’m curious what part of his actions are creepy. He’s studying digital fabrication, even if it wasn’t for his course he’s still done something fantastic for another person. Was the creepy part him asking if she would be interested in helping him with the project? There doesn’t seem to be anything in the article suggesting he was doing this for anything more than helping her out, and if she agreed and they’re friends now that suggests he wasn’t a creep about it either.

      1. Thank you. I don’t understand what it is that drives the current twentysomething generation to regard any guy daring to speak to a woman as “creepy”. When I was in my early 20s and something like this happened, at worst it would be considered sappy, and more likely the dude would be seen as a genuinely nice guy. Only someone with a skewed view of reality would see altruism as creepiness. I guess I’m old, but I don’t understand all the negativity in kids these days.

    4. It’s not entirely useless, it looks much better than just having a stump… Many actual prosthetics out there are also just as “useless”, they’re there for aesthetic purposes mostly (unless the wearer wants and pays for something more advanced)…

      1. Not to increase the level of creepy here, but it would be trivial to print another hand with ability to take batteries and have a vibrating motor in the digits…

        Also, I don’t care about the guy’s motives. This is the future of prosthetics. Also, the arm and its attachment mechanism are beautiful and functional. Excellent work.

    1. +100

      if he would of printed the prosthetic and left it front of her locker, that would have been creepy. Having the wherewithal to see her ‘problem’ and suggest a solution, and then provide that solution is honorable at its least.

      unfortunately many of the visitors to this site haven’t evolved or matured enough to understand social interaction and how it should work.

      1. Agreed on all points. Why on earth would anyone criticize any part of this story. What darkness lurks where their heart is supposed to be that anyone would have a problem with the concept of a person, seeing a situation that they can improve upon, asks if their assistance is appreciated and then comes up with real, artistic and physical solution. What’s the matter with these people?

        I can only suppose that the people criticizing this endeavour have obliviously not reached a degree of social maturity where they are able to approach another person (in real life) and interact with them in any true manner of the phrase “social interaction”; which is why they lurk behind the glow of their screens and come up with really weird ideas. …And the ideas being presented by those criticizing the hero of the story are pretty weird.

    1. Yes! The e-Nable group is doing some amazing stuff, but could use a bit of help in the aesthetics department. The focus is on low-cost easily adapted hands that can print on consumer FDM printers.

      Fortunately a large chunk of the e-Nable applicants are children, where the robotic appearance and colorful material options are desired.

  3. Despite jokes and love stories the prostetic hand seems very fragile, although is nice. Is there more prosthetic arm fotos? Another practical question: how much weight she can lift even if it can do such tasks?

    Recently found this video on Reddit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FGSo_I86_lQ Of course for that girl without wrist need some electromechanical joints, power source and some R&D how to control joints without signals from brains and muscle nerves. So there is many opportunities not only for artists.. :)

    USA army investing huge amount money in that direction for disabled vets from Iraq making advanced prosthetics. But those prosthetics are very expensive for people to afford.

    With 3D printing maker community can make a world better place to live for those badluck people :) So, stop joking around and share your ideas with world, people and others ;)

    P.S. About “close friends”, “friendzone” etc etc.. F_word that.. If they are happy (as it is), so am I reading these articles on HaD.

    1. Previous model on his website looks like it was more robust, but they did mention one of the criteria being aesthetics. Plus if it does break he’ll still have the model files to print a replacement

    2. why do you make me vulgar in my mind with your f-word? if you’re afraid to use it, why do you try to use it in another way at all? use another word but don’t make ME say it in my head! how inconsiderable! :troll off:

  4. Person A does nice thing for Person B because they can.
    Some internet people get agitated and make unpleasant comments…
    Sad. Luckily, there are plenty of normal people still about. Happy.
    Cool project I thought.

  5. Nice work. Even articulated artificial limbs start out as non-functional models. That he’s designed it to be a work of art at the same time must do much for her self-esteem.

    There is no need to exclude work of this type from HaD. One of the things that make any of us successful at hacking is seeing what the potential is for the work that we can create by whatever means.

  6. I hope he is not stopping with v2. There is a lot of ways to improve it. And this guy have some skills, motivation and both he and the girl could benefit from this.
    I was doing some bionic experiments myself and at some point I needed someone with less than 2 hands. Trust me, a guy looking for amputee to probe with pair of electrodes is creepy, a guy giving a hand to a girl is almost romantic.

  7. Women often care more about how they look then men, so its not “non-functional” it helps her look “normal” again, and that probably means allot to her. I haven’t seen very many incredibly useful prosthetic hands, and even though this doesn’t move at all I’m sure it is somewhat useful even just to hold down paper while you write on it. And aesthetically he did a great job I love how it laces up, it looks great, although lacing that herself looks hard. And this completely skips the “uncanny valley” I have seen with some prosthetic devices. People are generally shocked somewhat when they see someone without a limb, but when I saw this all I thought was “awesome”.

    1. If you look at one of the pictures – she’s laced a ribbon into the prosthetic that makes the whole thing begin to look like fancy jewelry.

      So even if not highly functional (but there are probably a number of cases where even a fixed-position prosthetic is useful), it *does* look good. Some people might be self-conscious about missing a hand, but now the replacement for the hand is a unique piece of art that stands out.

  8. And who says non-articulated hands don’t have their uses? If the entire top half of the posters on this page had non-articulated hands instead of regular hands, then reading the comments would be much more pleasant.

  9. Very very nice. Wish I had that level of artistic talent.

    As a criticiser, I’d suggest that perhaps the ribbon is a mite long. All I can say really, the detail is otherwise beautiful.

  10. I have to put in my $.02. This is a beautiful design. The corset-shoelace attachment is brilliant and adjustable, and the arty through-slots are well-designed. Excellent work.

  11. I have a strong latex and glove fetish and I was totally turned on by this hand. Because it looks like a normal hand with a hot and beautiful glove on it. I don’t want to be called creepy, I just said that to prove it’s so much better than not having a hand. The person who wore it totally became hotter and more beautiful. Specially at parties, when nobody notice the artificial hand, just a normal hand wearing a beautiful glove.

    1. You do understand that any post that includes “fetish” and “turned on” did not just pass the creepy line but totally in the dust.
      “I don’t want to be called creepy, I just said that to prove it’s so much better than not having a hand. The person who wore it totally became hotter and more beautiful.”
      I am sorry about that but if you don’t want to be creepy then you might want to post creepy things.

      1. I was hoping that by pointing it out, you see me as a glove expert! And when I say it’s hot, you believe that it can be really seen as a beautiful glove, and not an artificial hand. Anyway, I didn’t know that fetishists and whoever has a sexual fantasy (who are every single human) are always categorized as creepy! Being pleased by someone’s look and being sexually attracted to her because of her beauty and pointing it out to give her more self-esteem is not creepy at all. Get your mind opener.

        1. Some people need to get out of their caves from time to time and learn more about sexual desires and preferences. And that a person with an open mind about sex is not a pervert or creepy. That way, they maybe can get a gf/bf someday!

  12. All I see is a happy girl and a beautifully executed plastic hand. Why the negative comments, people? The prosthetic, even if not fully funtional in terms of bendable joints etc, has so much more value than yet another 3D-printed tardis miniature. Look at her smile. Sometimes people are just nice to each other, if thats creepy to you then, well, maybe you should try it out too sometime.

  13. It’s not just a prosthetic, it’s a beautiful fashion accessory. And it pulls off an effect I’ve never really seen a prosthetic do before, at least not so dramatically.

    A lot of prosthetics try to conceal and look as close as possible to the missing part, but instead end up falling right into uncanny valley territory. This one does not. With the artistically tessellated and fused digits, it retains the familiarity of a hand, yet without trying to fully represent itself as a human hand, or containing one. Leaving the viewer the ability to interpret and approach the idea in whatever way they wish, which will typically be one that is most comfortable for them.

    This effect is continued up through the design. The stump (if there’s a more polite word I apologize I’m ignorant of it) can be disturbing to see, and it is effectively hidden. Yet the slitted design lets light through, showing no wrist. Like an illusion. And if seeing that part is what finally clues you in, your first impression was of magic, rather than tragic.

    I absolutely love it. Kudos to you [Evan]. Plus bonus points for having no ridiculous artspeak anywhere on the website, a true artist lets the art speak for itself.

  14. Even if his main intention wasn’t to do a great project. Screw it.

    There’s a lot of things we all do for girls, and that one’s a great idea. I like it. :-)

    Keep going and make that fingers move (again?).

  15. I’m not an expert nor I have any experience in that field, but it seems a really good looking prosthetic hand to me. Now the question is: would it be possible to make it an active device too? Tactile sensory ability would probably be a bit too much, but interfacing to nerves and let her actually move the hand would be a wonderful gift for the girl. Is this possible with todays technology?

  16. I think the hand is brilliant. It beautifully fills in the visual gap of her missing hand without falling into the uncanny valley. Looks moderately functional and sturdy enough for light use. (I bet it will hold a cell phone!) A stronger socket and structure could be a practical upgrade.

    I could easily see a more practically focused version 2-3 mixing in a Cyborg Beast hand run via a shoulder shrug harness. http://enablingthefuture.org/upper-limb-prosthetics/cyborg-beast/ Alternatively if Ivania can twitch some muscles on her stump, looks like there is space for electric actuation and control.

  17. Um i hate to be the downer in the room.But what exactly was accomplished tech wise here? He printed a 3d prosthetic? If he had accomplished making a working version for the fingers and arm movement i’d be impressed. but seriously wondering why this warrants being mentioned here.

    1. Well, I for one highly doubt you “hate” to be the downer in the room; your post here proves otherwise (text book passive aggressive post).

      As for why it’s taking up valuable space on this website, you’ll have to check with the author but I suspect the reason it’s posted here is because aesthetically, it’s a very nicely designed hand, the glove itself really dresses it up and removed the standard prosthetic look. It was conceived, designed, prototyped and built by an individual who was looking to improve a situation, rather than choosing an off the shelf solution. As far as I can see, it’s a work in progress and can be enhanced over time. It’s inspirational for any like minded individuals who may choose to do something similar. Oh, and it’s a nice story too.

      1. I’ll agree with you on that accord. It is a nicely designed prosthetic. As far as nicely designed yes it is but more and more prosthetics these days are more aesthetically pleasing. Still not seeing the hack aspect here Also if being critical means be accused of hate so be it. Not trying to discourage this as a stepping stone but hardly anything here hasn’t been done before. for what its worth Its a nicely designed 3d printed cosmetic prosthetic device.

    2. Because it points out that 3D printing can be used for more than just making 1:96 scale T-Rex figurines for you and your little friends to play with?

      3D printing, for all of it’s nerd cache is still largely pointless on the consumer level. It is projects like this (and the wheeled Chihuahua and some others of late) that point out that the thinking that surrounds 3D printing is expanding & evolving and that perhaps sooner than later 3D printers might become useful enough to drive enough interest to bring down the price enough to make owning/using one feasible for those who don’t have vast quantities of gold-pressed latinum to spare…

      It’s posts like this that show that emerging technologies can successfully leap across the divide from nerd-land (of which I am a most contented denizen) into society-at-large, can cross gender, or age, or whatever barriers are perceived to presently exist between it and widespread adoption.

      That’s why posts like this are important. Ignore the drooling troglodytes busy making crass fap jokes, and see this for what it is… technological evolution. That’s why these stories matter. No one is hacking a 3D printer here, but what are being hacked are the intangible barriers presently between “that’s nice” on a theoretical level and “that’s great” on a real-world level. That’s just as much a hack as making a 3D printer extrude pre-cooked pasta or whatever other ideas folks come up with.

      1. I realize that and i do see the future implications possible if it was adapted. Not trying to degrade or discourage the creator efforts by any means. I’m just realistic and nothing new was accomplished here. All the person did was print out a 3d prosthetic and give it to a girl .Its a nice aww story for the good feeling but nothing here was hacked. Wake me when he finally has real technology to show and not just something cosmetic which hasn’t been done before..

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