…One man, by the name of Steve Wood has taken the idea of 3D printing prosthetics to new level. We are used to seeing 3D printed robotic hands that look… well… quite “robotic”. Wood, however, the founder of a mechanical design consultancy company called Gyrobot Ltd., has create a new type of prosthetic hand, using very unique ideas. He calls the design the “Flexy-Hand“.
His hand looks very much like a real human hand. Even more impressive though, is that it also operates much like a human hand. By using Filaflex flexible filament, Wood has made a hand that is like nothing else that we have seen before.
“I have to say the idea is all mine, but the inspiration to make something different comes from many of the other prosthetics out there, which generally use traditional pin style hinge joints,” Wood explained to 3DPrint.com. “Wherever there is a fastener, there is always a chance it becomes an un-fastener, and works itself loose, so screws/nuts and bolts should be avoided wherever possible. Especially in an application such as rotational hinge pins. Also “vitamins” (non-3D printed parts) are items that need to be sourced at the right sizes, which isn’t always possible in some locations. The flexible hinges in my design can be printed at the right size first hit (hopefully) on the same 3D printer. This also makes a tool free assembly possible.”
Wood used his expertise as an engineer and CAD designer to perfect his prosthetic hand to work very much like a human hand. Like a human hand, the Flexy-Hand uses tendons to operate each finger individually. These tendons are made out of strips of Filaflex, and work surprisingly well. In fact, with a simple motor added to this design, it should work very well to grasp and pick up objects….
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