3D Printer Produces Revolutionary Robotic Hand
A cutting-edge technique for building custom-made prosthetic hands is offering new hope for child amputees.
A Bristol-based company has combined 3D scanning and 3D printing to make the hand.
The company Dustin Pedroia Red Sox Jersey , Open Bionics, claims it is the first time it has ever been done.
First a tablet computer with a scanner is moved around the amputated limb so that measurements can be taken.
These are fed into a programme which in turn controls the 3D printer. The whole process takes days.
The development is significant because it means that sophisticated prosthetic hands could start to become affordable - around ￡1 Hanley Ramirez Red Sox Jersey ,200.
The ones currently available, which do not use such relatively cheap techniques Xander Bogaerts Red Sox Jersey , cost anything from ￡10,000 to ￡70 David Ortiz Red Sox Jersey ,000.
For children whose arms have been amputated, the price is a particular problem as the speed at which they grow means that they need a new robotic hand every 12 months.
Six-year-old Charlotte Nott Jim Rice Red Sox Jersey , from Oxford, had both arms and legs amputated four years ago following meningococcal septicaemia.
Although she is remarkably dexterous with her stumps Ted Williams Red Sox Jersey , her mother, Jenny Pedro Martinez Jersey , is worried about how she will manage as she reaches her teens and needs to fend for herself.
"We can look after her now but what about when she wants to go out - how will she get money out of her purse? How will she find her bus ticket?"
The Bristol team behind the new prosthetic hand is designing the product with children like Charlotte in mind.
Roboticist Joel Gibbard told Sky News: "At the moment children are under-served by the prosthetics industry in terms of robotic hands.
"This project can really help them as ideally they need a new prosthetic every year and that is where the cost component really helps out."
The prototype still needs to be modified to make it sleeker and lighter. But that process is expected to take months not years.
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Author's Resource Box
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