Apr. 12, 2015 | By Alec

The availability of affordable 3D printed prosthetics has been surging in recent years, and people young and old are currently benefiting from this wonderful application of 3D printing technology. These 3D printed prosthetics far more affordable than all traditionally-manufactured prosthetics available on the medical market, costing just a few bucks instead of thousands and thousands. Furthermore, they're also far easier to customize and adjust, which is perfect for growing children who need a new prosthetic once a year.

There’s just one downside to these 3D printed prosthetics that initiatives such as E-NABLE specialize in, and that is that they feature just a simple mechanical grip. These unfortunately tend to already struggle when trying to hold a cup, while the PLA or ABS its made from is prone to breaking down under all the wear and tear. This means that children that miss limbs aren’t exactly capable of doing all those things children are supposed to do: playing with blocks, riding bikes, going on adventures.

Those are exactly the goals German industrial designer Johanna Gieseler set out for herself when designing a new 3D printable prosthetic: a prosthesis that can take a punch and can hold on. Something that would enable children to play and live with like ordinary children, and that is exactly why she has realized. While it might not boast five plastic fingers like many other designs, this 3D printable prosthetic can hold on. As you can see in the photos, it features a very basic claw-like form that might not look very appealing, but can be easily used to hold and grab things and even function in situations such as cycling.

The gripper's wooden prototype.

More will be revealed about this product when it is presented at the ventura lambrate exhibition area during the upcoming Milan Design Week 2015, which is set to be held from the 14th to the 19th of April in Milan, Italy. However, it is already apparent that this excellent set of functional prosthetics can –through the power of 3D printed – be custom made to fit the exact measurements of any child, whether suffering from birth defects, accidents or any other tragedy that made it lose a hand. It will also be made available in various colors. It’s a perfect option for children who should stay children for a little while longer, so we hope that all designs will be made freely available in the coming months.



Posted in 3D Printing Applications


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