Laas owes his new hand to South African Richard Van As, a carpenter who himself lost four fingers to a circular saw accident in May 2011. The most functionally advanced solution —a biomechanical prosthesis activated by the electrical impulses generated when contracting muscles in the arm —would have cost Van As tens of thousands of dollars. So after watching a YouTube video of a mechanical hand prop designed by Bellingham, Wash. resident Ivan Owen, Van As decided instead to build his hand replacement himself.
The result: Robohand, a 3D-printed thermoplastic limb with clutching digits and a joint-related actuator invented by Van As and Owen. According to Robohand’s website, the pair collaborated through “emails, photos, drawings and Skype-sessions” to pull the do-it-yourself prosthesis together —a device whose early-stage iteration worked so well it helped Van As resume his carpentry career.
And it really is a DIY device, costing around $500 to produce and assembled by the wearer. Think of it as a kind of plastic glove you slip over your missing hand or fingers, stitched together with cables and screws. According to an interview they did with Yahoo, Van As and Owen have so far created custom Robohands for roughly 170 people of all ages, with each hand funded through donations.
This video is pretty inspirational. A guy who lost his fingers and another creative engineer develop a way to print off hands for kids who've lost their fingers. This device is 3D printed, then the child can use wrist flexors to clasp and unclasp objects in their hand. May sound simple but to the kid it means playing ball and grabbing just about anything that will fit in their hand.
Created by MarkerBot. 3D printing, prosthetic hands for kids video, artificial limbs. 3d print machine.
Used with permission, creative commons license. Original video located at youtube.com/watch?v=WT3772yhr0o