At an early press event for this weekend's Maker Faire Tokyo, a team demonstrated Handie, a 3D printed artificial hand that offers a large degree of functionality for amputees. Prosthetic limbs like this have been developed around the world and can cost tens of thousands of dollars, but Handie can be made at an affordable price costing no more than $400.
By using smartphone, 3D printing as well as customized mechanism for finger flexing, the team has created a much cheaper prosthetic hand.
The use of 3D printing makes Handie repairable. All components are printable by a 3D printer, enabling users to modify and reproduce them easily. The team also has a customized mechanism for finger flexing. To reduce the number of motors, they developed a three-joints finger actuated by one motor that passively changes its trajectory depending on the shape of an object.
This picture below shows the entire system of the first prototype. EMG sensor is made of mass produced flexible substrate and the cost is only around $50, including electric components and the circuit. Conventional hands required an exclusive device for computation, and here a smartphone can be used to record the EMG signal from users remining muscle, and it sends control signal to the robotic hand.
The team has been working on this project since college. An early focus was on highly functional hand that can perform strong, precise and diverse motions. After many researches, they realized that high functionality is not necessarily to be the first priority. The high price of prosthetic hand restricts amputees from using myoelectric prosthetic hand. Therefore, "Handie" is designed to provide amputees with sufficient functions at an affordable price.
In their next model, they plan to enhance the "portability", reduce the size of sensor circuit to "domino" size, and make the system completely wireless.
Posted in 3D Printing Applications
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