Feb.14, 2012

3D printed prosthetic hand awarded top innovation prize

Eric Ronning, Mechanical engineering sophomore at University of Wisconsin-Madison won top prize at UW-Madison's annual Innovation Days. His invention, a 3D printable prosthetic hand for amputees in developing countries won $10,000 prize in the Schoofs Prize for Creativity, one of a pair of competitions that make up Innovation Days. He also won second place for best prototype, the Tong Prototype Award, which came with $1,250.

This invention, named the Manu Print, has a unique design that allows users to close and open each finger individually by applying only one tensile force. The hand is similar to the human hand and is purely mechanical and has no electronic parts. The Manu Print is also a low-cost prosthetic hand, Ronning spent only 20$ of material, while other prosthetic hands on the market costs about $600.

Ronning plans to share the hand's design on open-source 3D printing sites such as Thingiverse. He said the next stage will be to develop a more robust prototype and to allow amputees to test it.

Ronning said that his idea of 3D printing the prosthetic hand was fueled by an engineering class he took in high school, where he learned 3D modeling and computer-assisted design.

Peter Tong, who sponsors the prize, was pleased to see that students were using new 3D printing technology to create prototypes. "If you don't have something to put down in front of a prospective customer, you can't connect to them," he says. "It's very rewarding to see this taking place at a university level."

image credit/via: wisc.edu

 

Posted in 3D Printing Applications

 

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