Ivan Owen in Bellingham, Washington and Richard Van As in South Africa—have published the design for Robohand, the mechanical hand prosthesis, on MakerBot's Thingiverse site as a digital file that can be used to produce its parts in a 3D printer. They've intentionally made the design public domain in the hopes that others around the world who don't have access to expensive commercial prosthetics (which can cost tens of thousands of dollars) can benefit from it.
They worked to provide a 5 year old (Liam) with a working hand. Makerbot donated printers to the effort and that allowed for fast iterations. Liam received a finalized working version of the hand, printed on the MakerBot. The PLA plastic resin used by the MakerBot machine is strong enough to be used day to day, Owen said. We've found we can control the in-fill percentage—the ratio of plastic to air in the part," he said. "So actually, from the experiments we've done, the force to break the plastic exceeds the strength of the human hand." It also means that, as Liam grows, the design can just be scaled up and reprinted for him; when he's fully grown, the hand could be metal fabricated.
Separate Kickstarter Project for Brainwave activated 3D printed Arm
A 17 year old is developing his second generation printed arm with a combination of 3D printed parts, dental rubber bands for tendon-like spring action, nylon-coated jeweler’s wire for ligaments, a telemetric Nintendo Power Glove, and a brainwave-activated headset to control the arm’s movement. For muscle power, he made a servo by adding a potentiometer to a DC motor. He was 14 when he built his first prosthetic arm.
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