Using 3D printing to create prosthetics is nothing new. We’ve written about Open Bionics’ low-cost 3d printed bionic arms, the U.K. National Health Service’s program for free 3D printed prosthetic hands, and more. These tend to be mechanical devices, however, without powered components or sensors.
Engineers from several U.K. companies and the University of Warwick‘s WMG collaborated in The Impact Project to make headlines with dynamic 3D printed prosthetics. The team 3D printed a custom bionic hand in ten hours. The bionic hand uses muscle sensors to control an articulated thumb in order to function in a similar fashion to a human hand.
The 3D printed hand is a demonstration project for the technology that can print plastic goods with integrated electric circuitry. In this case, the circuits connect to sensors and actuators and a battery built into the structure of the hand.
In addition to the demonstration hand, the researchers also built a website for consumers who want to order a bionic hand. Visitors to the site can input their arm measurements and choose the color of the arm. Other members of the collaboration developed the hand design including electrical circuitry integration, 3D printing with electrical circuitry tech, and a multi-axis, multi-material 3D printer.
WMG is an international leader in collaboration between academia, private sector companies, and public interests and organizations. An academic department at the University of Warwick, WMG drives innovation in science, technology, and engineering.