Boy Gets 'Robohand' With Help of 3D Printer
It's funny what you can do with a few parts and a little know-how.
Richard Van As, a developer in South Africa was working on a prosthetic replacement for his hand: He lost four of his fingers in an accident a couple of years prior. He teamed up with Washington-based prop maker Ivan Owen to make a strong replacement, but without going too far on costs. What the pair came up with didn't just amaze the science world, it also made a difference to a five-year old child, also in South Africa.
The project, titled "Robohand," was initially meant for Van As, but after hearing about the boy's conditions – being born without any fingers on his right hand due to a condition called Amniotic Band Syndrome – he became the recipient of the budget-priced prosthetic, which, according to the accompanying video, works like a charm when it comes to grabbing objects.
Rather than relying on state-of-the-art robotics, the "Robohand" consists of simplistic parts, including nylon cord, rubber thimbles (for the fingers) and cables. A 3D printer was used to create a portion of the parts, and putting it together was rather easy, with the project as a whole totaling just around $150.
Owen stated, "Rich and I would like to really fine-tune this, and then be able to teach other people how to make this, and spread this idea – get it out to people that are in need of it so that people can access this without having to pay thousands of dollars."