OpenΒionics is an open-source initiative and a nonprofit organization that has connected researchers from USA and Greece for the development of affordable modular prosthetic hands, that can be easily reproduced even at home by using a 3D printer, detailed instructions and inexpensive, but strong, flexible and durable plastic materials. The OpenBionics design very functional and light-weight robotic prosthetic hands, which costs between $100 and $200. Personally, I think their initiative really excellent and really appreciate what they are doing!
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There is no doubt that 3D printing is the future of prosthetics. The good news is that even big companies have joined the process of creating new affordable prosthetic solutions for people with disabilities. For example, Intel and 3D Systems have designed an affordable prosthetic hand special for Daniel Hobbs, 11-year-old boy, who was born without hand because of a congenital malformation of his left arm. As already mentioned, high-end prosthetics cost thousands of dollars and need to be often replaced as the child grows. And that’s why 3D printing would offer an affordable alternative for children with disabilities.
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Printed Prehensile is a beautiful concept for a prosthetic hand created by Fraser Leid, an Innovation orientated Industrial Designer of London. This theoretical model closely repeats the structure of a human hand and can be printed on a 3D printer. Printed Prehensile has an elegant and stylish form, looks gorgeous and ordinary to the eye. The prosthetic hand consists of light and solid materials, which emulating the 27 bones of the hand that consists of aluminum tubing and steel springs.
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Jeff Powell, a college student in Chapel Hill, has made an affordable prosthetic hand using a 3D printer and has significantly changed 7-year-old boy’s life. Jeff didn’t use composite high-tech tools to make that wonderful low-cost prosthetic hand for the little kid. He just used a 3D printer and open-source instructions posted on the Internet. His 3D-printed hand was made out of cheap plastic for only $20! Thus, novel technology greatly simplify the life of children with disabilities. Because custom prosthetic arm, hand or fingers normally cost thousands of dollars and needs to be often replaced as children grow.
25-year-old gamer and amputee James Young lost his left arm and left leg in a rail accident in 2012, after falling under a train in London. Special for James London-based prosthetic sculptor Sophie de Oliveira Barata (the founder of the Alternative Limb Project) and the Japanese game developer Konami have designed a futuristic prosthetic carbon-fiber arm that costs £60,000. The 3D printed hand was built with help from robot hand developers at Open Bionics.
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