#maketheworld – Joel Gibbard of Open Hand Project – #3DThursday #3DPrintingOpen Hand Project
The Open Hand Project, created by Joel Gibbard from Bristol, UK, emerged out of his academic research at the University of Plymouth. His goal was to design a highly articulate robotic prosthetic hand that could be controlled as naturally and intuitively as possible.
The Project’s current focus is on the latest iterations of the “Dextrus” prosthetic robotic hand that came out of this research. This project is currently pursuing crowdfunding as an alternative to venture capital.
The Dextrus hand works much like a human hand. It uses electric motors instead of muscles and steel cables instead of tendons. 3D printed plastic parts work like bones and a rubber coating acts as the skin. All of these parts are controlled by electronics to give it a natural movement that can handle all sorts of different objects.
The hand can be connected to an existing prosthesis using a standard connector to give an amputee another option. It uses stick-on electrodes to read signals from their remaining muscles, which can control the hand, telling it to open or close. The fingers are individually powered and each one can sense when an object is impeding its movement. This gives it the ability to grasp objects gently and means the fingers can really wrap around unusual shapes to grip them firmly.
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