All 3D printers are different types of robots, so when they’re used for fabricating robotics parts there’s a certain harmony achieved. It’s like a hand drawing a hand, but the drawing can actually pick up the pencil. If there’s any form of robotics that I’m particularly drawn to it’s bionics. Advanced prosthetics. Millions of people suffer from accidents, birth defects, and diseases that takes or impairs their limbs. Peg legs and hooks had a long run, and there are modern versions still available, but there are more options now. We showed you the 3D robotic hand on Kickstarter, and now there’s one on Indiegogo called Open Hand.
What’s nice about the Open Hand Project is that it already has a working prototype, the Dextrus. It’s designed to fit onto existing prosthetic attachment pieces, like where a traditional hook goes. Electrodes are placed on the skin that detect the electric signals that pass from the brain through the nervous system. An algorithm approximates motion in the hand from those signals, and the motion is pretty fluid. There are more advanced prosthetics but they cost at least $10,000 and go up to $100,000. The goal of Open Hand is to make such dexterous prosthetics available for less than $1000.
And it is dexterous; it even has the ability to sense when something is being grasped, so it can gently hold delicate objects. Chef Liam Corbett lost his hand to meningitis and he’s been testing the Dextrus out, with good results so far. That makes him the second Liam to get a 3D printed prosthetic hand.
And of course the project is open source, so all the design files will be made available. That doesn’t only mean others can build their own, but also improve upon it. If you’d like to do just that you can claim one for $725.