Handie prothetic hand made with 3D printing technology – via James Dyson Foundation
The Maker Faire, dubbed the “Greatest Show and Tell on Earth,” took Tokyo by storm this week, bringing together makers of monsters, rock bank robots and prosthetic hands.
On the scene this year was a design team who has worked together since college towards the development of a functional, yet affordable, prosthetic hand. After much tedious work, Handie was born.
Handie, already a nominee for the James Dyson design engineering award, is a prosthetic hand which offers amputees a considerable amount of functional ability at a much lower cost. Prosthetic limbs can cost upwards of tens of thousands of dollars; Handie carries a price tag of just under $400.
The Handie team designed the limb with price in-mind. To keep production costs low, Handie was designed with a customized motor using an EMG sensor out of mass-produced flexible substrate.
The EMG motor and flexible, mass-produced substrate used on first prototype of Handie prothetic – via www.3ders.org
With this, each non-electronic piece was manufactured using 3D printing, or additive manufacturing. The prosthetic looks streamlined and because each piece (not including the motor) is manufactured using 3D printing, it is repairable at a low cost, meaning it may even last longer than its more-costly competition.
The third design component of Handie is that is incorporated smart phone technology as its “brains.” This allows the weight of the prosthetic to be less, while enabling users to control the prosthetic by use of an App.
The designers of Handie spoke about how the prosthetic came to be upon nomination for the James Dyson award, stating that they designed Handie after interviewing amputees to see what they wanted.
“Our team has been working on myoelectric prosthetic hand since [our] college days. We were pursuing [a] highly functional hand that can perform strong, precise and diverse motions. Talking with amputees, however, we realized that high functionality is not necessarily the first priority to reduce their daily challenges. These tasks don’t require dexterous motions. It is rather the ‘price’ of [the] prosthetic hand that restricts amputees from using myoelectric prosthetic hand[s]. Therefore, ‘Handie’ is designed to provide amputees with sufficient functions at an affordable price.”
Although the Handie team calls the prosthetic’s functions “sufficient,” it does offer a high degree of functionality, including fingers with three-joint bending capability and automatic hand movement based on the type of object it encounters. The prosthetic can also read the electronic signals emitted by the muscle to which it attaches onto the amputated arm.
The Handie team announced that for its next model, it seeks to reduce the size and weight of the prosthetic, while also enabling wireless capabilities.
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