Feb 17, 2016 | By Andre

It wasn’t too long ago that we reported on an Instructables tutorial that provided all the necessary instructions to build your own 3D printed robotic Ada hand. The process involved quite a lot of 3D printing and the sourcing of a number of individual components from the Open Bionics online shop.

There’s no question that it was a task for someone that already has the drive to tinker and make. This being said, Open Bionics has now made it possible to buy everything you need to build the hand—including the 3D printed parts—in one easy-to-order package for just £500 (and complete the assembly in under an hour after arrival!)

The low-cost for this relatively full-featured prosthetic limb has a lot to do with the overall goal of Open Bionics. They know full-well that there are an estimated 2 million hand amputees in the world; many of which live in some of our planet's most impoverished regions. Providing affordable solutions in prosthetics is paramount to addressing the issue.

Open Bionics is also hoping to find other uses for the hand however. As a fully articulated robotic hand with 5 degrees of freedom, it is a perfect addition to anyone interested in robotics in a more general sense. Also, the notion that the hand can be assembled in less than an hour will motivate adoption of the hand on a larger scale.

Joel Gibbard, Open Bionics CEO knows “there are hundreds of people around the world that really want to contribute to designing a fantastic robotic hand, both for applications in robotics and in prosthetics," then suggests that "at the moment there is a large barrier to entry to getting involved in this project and contributing to developments. With the Ada hand we want to remove that barrier. The hand is 3D printable on an FDM desktop home printer and can be assembled in an hour."

To me, he’s hit the nail right on the head in suggesting straight-forward instructions and an easy to assemble design are important. For those not willing or able to spend the time to assemble a complex instruction set, the Ada hand is the perfect solution. Joel suggests thinks that “one of the big barriers to people making and starting projects is a daunting magnitude of the build and a lack of documentation, instruction, and guidance,” and goes on to say that they’re “trying to make this as easy as we can for people with any level of technical ability.”

Also, considering the open-source nature of the project as a whole, it isn’t much of a surprise that there is a community element to this 3D printed hand. Developers and researchers are encouraged to contribute ideas and designs to the developer forum with hopes of finding new applications and even more efficient, cost-effective design options going forward.

Joel adds that they receive plenty of researchers and makers “who want to contribute to our goal of making low-cost 3D printed bionic hands readily available for amputees. We’ve had a handful of researchers who have used our hands to contribute to award-winning medical research and prosthetic testing. We’re hoping that by making our robotic hands easier to make, we’re opening up the possibility for more researchers to get involved and contribute.”

While It’s true that Open Bionics isn’t the only team working on low-cost 3D printable prosthetics hands, the addition of electronic features while still available at a low price point is unique to the Ada Hand by Open Bionics. And truth be told, if you are into robotics for any reason, the £500 3D printed hand (less if you have your own 3D printer) is a great entry point device worth looking into.


5 degrees of freedom
Open source
Arduino IDE Compatible
USB Programmable

Technical Specifications:

Mass: 380g
Major Dimensions: 215 x 178 x 58 mm
Operating voltage: 12V



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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pat.barbour@prospect.org.uk wrote at 3/1/2016 1:25:16 PM:

How can we purchase an arm to go with the hand?

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