3D printed robotic hand aims to be the cheapest prosthetic hand option
Existing prosthetics are great utility devices, sadly though they are far from the reach of average amputees because of their hefty price tags. A cost effective alternative for the costly prosthetic hands is Joel Gibbard’s Open Hand Project. Dubbed the Dextrus Hand, the robotic hand aims to lower the costs of prosthetics significantly. The fully functional robotic hand, which can be put together for well under $1000 features capabilities similar to the most advanced prosthetic hands other there – it can function exactly like a human hand.
Dextrus Hand uses a set of electric motors and steel cables instead of muscles and tendons. The robotic hand also has 3D printed plastic parts that act as bones and rubber coating on the exterior which functions like skin. All the parts of the prosthetic hand are controlled by electronics, and stick on electrodes are used to read signals from wearer’s remaining muscles to control the hand to open and close or function much like the real hand. In addition to this, the Dextrus Hand’s fingers are all individually powered, which enhance the hand’s ability to grasp and warp around things firmly.
Most of the currently available prosthetic hands are costly because they are made from superior materials and are custom-fitted to the user’s arm. In contrast, the Dextrus Hand attaches directly to any existing artificial limb attachment hardware and mount, minimizing the extra customization costs.
Joel has purposely used 3D printing because of its vast benefits. 3D printed parts of the robotic hand ensure that the user can choose any color hand, creating parts for right and left hand is easy and parts can be re-printed in case of wear and tear. Joel visions to work more on details and create working prototypes of his robotic hand, for this he is seeking funds and has launched an Indiegogo campaign.