Well, I was happy to discover that a fine group of folks got together and developed a 3D printed prosthetic hand that disabled humans can use to replace their missing organic one.
The group is called e-NABLE, and it currently has over 1,500
members around the world. As in most robotics teams or
groups, the members come from all walks of life ranging
from engineering, art, financial, software, and CAD
designers, to just your basic garage tinkerer.
The folks that have joined this effort volunteer their
time, skills, and often money to make all of this possible.
This is pretty similar to what others have done for different
technical, artistic, educational, robotics combat, or mixed
international events like RoboGames. When humans learn
to work together peacefully (most of the time) for a
common goal, anything is possible.
The original design for e-NABLE first robot hand came
from Richard Van who is a woodworker in South Africa.
During a work accident, he cut off four of his fingers and
found that available prosthetics were not what he needed.
So, he and Ivan Owen — a prop maker from Bellingham,
WA — figured out how to make their own.
They actually worked together on another project to
create a hand for a little boy also in South Africa. That
project helped to start the group.
Richard is taking his Robo Hand around the world to
demonstrate it to various hospitals. Ian is working with
e-NABLE teaching 3D printing and developing new designs
with others in the group.
The technology used to create the components for the
mechanical hand comes from open source CAD drawings
and the rapidly emerging world of 3D printing in plastic.
The components can be printed on several 3D printers
that range in cost from $500-$3,000, such as the Rep Rap,
Many of us got into building robotic machines
for the shear fun of creating and/or competing
at robotic events in combat, art, autonomous
navigation, and a lot of other fun technical
challenges. Some of these amazing creations
have even made it to market for home use, and
variations of the drive systems in the combat
robots have actually gone to real war. I'd like to
think that at least some of the efforts of the
thousands of folks that I have met have
inspired others to build devices to help out
their fellow humans.
By Steven Nelson
SERVO 12.2014 67
3D Printed Hand
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