Feb 1, 2017 | By David

A professor from the UAE University is developing artificial arms using 3D printing in order to drastically lower the cost of their production and to introduce an unprecedented level of personalization. The project, conducted in partnership with the University of Michigan, has the potential to change the lives of amputees for the better.

Dr Fady Alnajjar, the assistant professor of Information Technology at UAEU who is leading the research, is currently developing prototypes for 3D printed advanced prosthetics that could offer better flexibility and movement control than existing counterparts. As Alnajjar explains, "the multi-degree freedom of our bodies gives signals that can control our arms’’. Existing artificial arms, however, are currently limited in terms of how many of those signals from the body they can pick up on, and the amputee’s movement and flexibility is limited accordingly. Alnajjar identified this problem, and he hopes that his work will go some way towards providing a solution.

‘‘There is a lot of input from the body, but the prosthetic cannot accept it," he says. "Most prosthetic arms have a maximum of three-degree freedom. What we are working on is how we can increase that for individuals.’’ 3D printing will help with his development of new prosthetics, which will have multiple sensors in order to maximize the amount of control wearers have over their bodies.

Alnajjar is also using 3D printing to offers a broad range of possibilities in terms of personalizing prosthetic arms for specific users. According to the researcher, prosthetic arms currently on the market ‘‘are pre-designed and pre-coloured. So they are not actually a fit for everyone. Some people would like customization, and 3D printing will be much easier to customize’’. Arms could be built to order, that would match more closely a particular wearer’s physique or skin tone, for example.

The actual functionality of the arm is something that can also be customised, with different people using their prosthetics in different ways. For example, as Dr Alnajjar puts it, ‘‘an artist might require a very different prosthetic arm to a golfer’’. As with many uses of 3D printing, the cost factor is also a huge advantage of developing prosthetics in this way. 3D printing has allowed the research team to cut back on costs, which could presumably translate to overall lower product costs as well. Alnajjar credits the lower costs to inexpensive 3D printing materials. Weight is another benefit to these materials as 3D printed prosthetics can be significantly lighter than those made in traditional ways.

The 3D printed prosthetic project is planned to be presented to the UAEU medical faculty for refinement once it is around 60 percent complete. Then it will be passed on to biological experts, who will work on making sensors that have the best fit for the human body and the highest level of responsiveness possible. This multi-disciplinary, collaborative effort is something that Dr Alnajjar is highly enthusiastic about. He sees the introduction of 3D printing to prosthetics development as a way of bridging gaps in knowledge and bringing the medical field and the world of engineers closer together. ‘‘There is a gap between engineering and medical doctors’’, he says. ‘‘For the benefit of people who need prosthetics, we need to fill this gap.’’

The prosthetics could be ready to hit the market as early as 2020, if everything goes according to plan. A bespoke product such as this, tailored to the specific needs of an individual who has lost a limb, will greatly improve what is referred to as the ‘emotional transition’ from the initial trauma to the adoption of a prosthetic. While it may never completely compensate for the loss, it is great to see 3D printing being used to help amputees in this way. And when we consider what else the potentially limitless customization possibilities of the technology could offer to improve quality of life and wellbeing for people in need of medical care, this is clearly only the tip of the iceberg.



Thanks to the many readers who pointed out that the 3D printed arm pictured in this article appears to be the arm of an InMoov robot, designed (and made completely open source) by creator Gael Langevin.

To those who have accused Dr Fady Alnajjar of plagiarism, however, we would advise caution and careful optimism. The image of Dr Alnajjar with what appears to be an InMoov robotic arm was supplied by United Arab Emirates University in their coverage of the project. However, the university did not explicitly label the arm in the picture as Dr Alnajjar's own creation.

Dr Alnajjar has stated that he will present his research when it is "60 percent complete." Let us hope that the prosthetic arms he is working on are not in fact InMoov arms, which are 100 percent attributable to Gael Langevin.




Posted in 3D Printing Application



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Cochran Robotics wrote at 5/11/2017 4:10:39 PM:

In addition to all of the comments above, he is using an EZ-Robot controller to do this. It would be great to mention Inmoov and the EZ-B V4 robot controller that he is using. Perhaps he is simply using something as a model, but this makes it look like he is doing something amazing. What he is doing is using others work in this photo. To dispel any notion of creativity, this photo is an Inmoov arm running an EZ-B V4 controller from EZ-Robot. Good choice to design something off of, but it is a very deceiving article and nothing that many other people haven't already built in their garages. www.inmoov.fr www.ez-robot.com

Richard Ramos wrote at 2/21/2017 2:20:52 AM:

This is plagiarism, Give create to Gael Langevin at InMoov.fr for developing the free open source arm

Steve wrote at 2/19/2017 8:45:43 PM:

That arm is from Inmoov.fr, as designed by Gael Langevin.

lorncampbell wrote at 2/17/2017 9:12:49 AM:

You need to credit Gael Langevin at InMoov.fr for this design. There is no mention in the article about where these designs come from and the impression given is that its all Alnajjar own work.

Michael HAYWARD wrote at 2/16/2017 8:59:26 PM:

LOL UAE Professor, please remember that Mr Gael Langevin started his project in January 2012 under the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License and is followed by 1000s of people around the world. The sooner you credit all your work to its author to ensure you adhere to the licenses and its obligations, the sooner the world will stop writing to the relevant authorities. I will be writing after this email is sent.

William Hall wrote at 2/16/2017 8:46:08 PM:

Well ive only just read this article but this is clearly the Inmoov arm. What is unclear to me is whether this is a badly misrepresented article by the author or if the credit to Mr. Langevin was never given by Dr. Fady Alnajjar in the first place. Either way, someone owes an apology to Mr. Langevin. Figure it out and make things right is what needs to be done here. I am an Inmoov builder myself and almost a year in to my build and i still smile and marvel at the fact that this man would be so kind as to share his wonderful project with the world... for free! The only thing we can give back is our appreciation and make an effort to help the project grow through the Inmoov community. Certainly not claim it as our own...Inmoov builders are, i think, far too clever to be fooled and we believe in this so so we will speak out and do our part to dispel any dishonesty that is being propogated. I truly hope this was a mistake and not deliberate theft because theft is exactly what it would be. www.inmoov.fr

Vivian A. Sanders wrote at 2/16/2017 7:18:40 PM:

To the chancellor of UAE University, Dr Fady Alnajjar and The University of Michigan, It would really be wonderful for FULL acknowledgement of Gael Langevin the French sculptor and designer of InMoov an open-source, 3D printed, Life size robot. This would help clear up any ambiguity of who the original designer is. Truly if someone did not know of Gael's contributions or InMoov, they would automatically assumed that Dr Fady Alnajjar created the arm in the photo for his research in conjunction with the University of Michigan.

Mike erne wrote at 2/16/2017 6:01:54 AM:

Dr Fady Alnajjar, Is a fraud he is not the creator and doesn't even mention the creator center open source license for noncommercial use give credit where credit is due you pathetic fool

Mike e wrote at 2/16/2017 5:59:16 AM:

Dr Fady Alnajjar, is a fraud he is using a creation called Inmoov by Gael langevin www.inmoo.fr under an open source license that no one can gain monetary funds from it . And this professor probably makes high dollars and is an absolute fraud give credit where credit is due you will be reported to the authorities

Mike wrote at 2/16/2017 5:47:24 AM:

You are a fraud, this an inmoov www.inmoov.fr Gael Langevinn is the original creator. Under an open source license stating NO ONE can us it for monetary Gain! This professor is a fraud and a University of Michigan is also a fraud using someone else's open source licensing for their own monetary gain this will be reported to the proper authorities

Luis wrote at 2/15/2017 8:34:20 PM:

David , the person in this article did not design this . Gael Lanngevin did . This is very wrong.

Diego wrote at 2/12/2017 10:27:48 AM:

Hi proffesor Fady Alnajjar, I also made my InMoov right hand thanks to Gael Langevin, a great professional who always is helping the community: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4rIB6UIe1bg Another great open source project for prothesis parts is: https://openbionics.org/ where you can find also 3D printer models. DONT FORGET TO MENTION THE AUTHORS THIS TIME! Regards, Diego

EzMaxx wrote at 2/11/2017 8:50:52 AM:

Clearly plagiarism. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4Z09edx52E

moz4r wrote at 2/10/2017 6:45:42 PM:

bad bad bad , it is called plagiarism #inmoov

Peloche wrote at 2/9/2017 3:19:11 PM:

You should verify your information before posting it. The design that you wrongly attribute to this Dr has been in fact created by Gael Langevin under the Creative Commons - Attribution - Non-Commercial license, visit http://inmoov.fr/ to learn about the sharing conditions of his work and https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/nl/deed.en to learn more about the licence and its obligations. Don't be usurper supporter, it's not fair.

pedro wrote at 2/9/2017 2:36:56 PM:

interesting ure using a opensource project as your own ...www.inmoov.fr

Greg Perry wrote at 2/9/2017 8:25:28 AM:

You should mention the original creator from which this "professor" downloaded all of the designs - http://inmoov.fr Gael Langevin and http://myrobotlab.org if he gets it moving... Otherwise it looks like blatant plagiarism.

jeremy wrote at 2/9/2017 2:47:19 AM:

the arm in the picture is from inmoov.fr created by Gaël LANGEVIN

Mats Önnerby wrote at 2/9/2017 1:56:40 AM:

This arm is part of the Open Source Non-Commercial project InMoov. You can find more about it here: http://www.inmoov.fr.

skouf wrote at 2/9/2017 1:32:26 AM:

Fake doctor stealing other designers' work... This design belongs to Gael Langevin.

Perry wrote at 2/9/2017 12:43:07 AM:

You should really point out that this person is simply replicating the work of the Inmoov project as envisioned by Gael Langevin. It is an open source project. It is disingenuous for him to represent it as his own work. Many of us are much further along than Dr. Alnajjar.

Stephen V Beckett, PT wrote at 2/8/2017 6:09:58 PM:

You really ought to credit Gael Langevin at InMoov.fr for developing the free open source arm in the photo at top. Go have a look!

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