In recent years, prosthetics have seen a dramatic increase in innovation due to the rise of 3D printing. [Nicholas Huchet] — missing a hand due to a workplace accident in 2002 — spent his residency at Fab Lab Berlin designing, building, testing and sharing the files and tutorials for a prosthetic hand that costs around 700 Euros.
[Huchet] founded Bionicohand with the intent of using the technology to make prosthetic limbs available to those without reliable medical or social assistance — as well as for amputees in countries without such systems — which can cost tens of thousands of dollars. The parts took a week to print while assembly and modifications to suit [Huchet’s] arm took another four days, but the final product is functional and uses affordable myoelectric sensors, boards and servos — plus there’s always the option of using a basic 3D scanner to accommodate for existing prosthetic mounts for the individual.
Building the hand is predictably complex, and [Huchet] required the assistance from his colleagues to complete the project. In addition, the design isn’t perfect — the materials aren’t as robust as professional prosthetics, and the servos are prone to overheating after a mere 15 minutes — but it is nonetheless capable of simple tasks and can deliver a lot more functionality than some people presently have access to.
While not technically inclined himself, in [Huchet’s] words, “the project comes from the passion for technology and sharing knowledge, the desire to help others”. Even though other makers have been pushing the boundaries of open-source prosthetics, it is important that amputees are “being a part of healing [themselves].”
[via Eugene Johnson]