Ryan Bouricius, a senior physics major at Ithaca College in New York, has designed and assembled a functional prosthetic hand, using a 3D printer, which can grab and hold various objects.
According to Bouricius, a teaching assistant who helps run the Ithaca College 3D Printing Lab, the prosthetic hand is designed for a person who still has the ability to move their wrist.
“I like to use it around the apartment to see what problems are faced, because I can only imagine what it would be like to actually need a prosthetic hand,” Bouricius says in a media release from Ithaca College. “It’s given me an appreciation for what human hands can do, and I’ve been trying to match it as best as I can.”
Via various tinkering and testing, Bouricius has made changes to the prosthetic’s original design to give it more functionality, such as the ability to more effectively grab and grip items.
Physics Professor Michael “Bodhi” Rogers, who oversees the 3D printing lab, notes in the release that the 3D-printed hand has many advantages over an electronic prosthesis.
“There are people who are working on electronic hands, but they’re extremely expensive, not easy to repair, and many are not available for sale,” Rogers says.
Bouricius concurs, adding that complex components are not more expensive to make for his mostly plastic prosthetic hand.
“The nice thing about 3D printing is that the price only has to do with the amount of plastic used, not the complexity of the piece,” Bouricius states in the release. “So even though my modified pieces are trickier shapes, since it’s the same amount of plastic, it’s the same amount of money.”
Bouricius is working with the nonprofit organization eNABLE, which matches 3D-printed prostheses with those who need them, to find a recipient for his 3D-printed hand.
“They know I live in New York, so if someone contacts them they will look at a map and tell them there’s someone at Ithaca College,” Bouricius says. “Once they contact us, then it’s left to us to work out the rest.”
[Source(s): Ithaca College, Science Daily]