3D printed robotic hand wins design innovation award

Open-Bionics

A 3D-printed robotic hand designed by prosthetics startup Open Bionics was won the 2015 UK James Dyson Award for design engineering innovation.

The Open Bionics hand is designed to be cheaper and faster to produce than other prosthetic limbs available for amputees, which can cost between $4,000 and $80,000.

Taking just 40 hours to 3D-print, the robotic hand is designed to fit on to limbs precisely and can be fitted after just two days of a recipient’s body scan.

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Electromyographic sensors – which detect muscle movement – are attached to the skin and used to control the hand.

The user can flex their muscles to open and close the hand or grip objects. Its fingers have also been designed to sense when they are in contact with an object to prevent wearers from accidentally crushing objects they’re holding.

The designer now intends to add new components 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 making 3D-printed hands that amputees will enjoy wearing,” founder Joel Gibbard said in a statement.

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