Human Capital, Makers Industry, Industrial Design

Making Prostheses affordable for everyone – University of Rotterdam

Making Prostheses affordable for everyone
Contemporary prostheses have advanced significantly in the last few years. Previously, the prostheses were quite expensive. With the advancements of 3D printing, 3D printers come more and more accessible to consumers. This has, among other things, a great impact on the making of prostheses. With the active open-source 3D printing community, one can easily create a prosthesis themselves.

Most common designs are made for below-elbow and above-elbow amputees. Our audience consists of people with a partial hand. A partial hand prosthesis also has the problem that the length of the user’s arms must be taken into account. If this is not taken into account, medical complaints may arise for the user.

This makes it a difficult task to design prosthesis for partial hand users.
For our specific design, we wanted to make an active prosthesis. Compared to a passive prosthesis, an active prosthesis can be operated by the user for more complex movements, while an active doesn’t move while it does provide extra functionality to the user.

Prostheses have advanced significantly in their functional capabilities and appearances over the past few years. But most of the higher-end prostheses are way too expensive for most people, while more and more people are eligible for prostheses.
We wanted to make a prosthesis for Dylan, one of the group members who was born with a deformed hand, that can add functionality in real life. On a minimal budget, we built a 3D-printed mechanical hand with 5 actuated fingers that are controlled by muscle signals.