An open-source project that was started to create prosthetic fingers for five-year old Liam Dippenaar has completed their final working version. Liam was born with Ambiotic Band Syndrome and is missing the fingers on his right hand.
For over a year Ivan Owen, from Washington state, and Richard Van As, from South Africa, have collaborated via the internet to design a low cost device to help those who lack fingers. Using email, Skype and open-source 3D design software tools they have slowly improved their initial designs to a point where a final version ready for Liam to use is ready.
Development time was reduced when they received two Replicator2 Makerbot 3D printers, thereby eliminating the need for complex parts to be made on a milling machine.
“We love to see our printers being used for amazing life-changing and life-validating projects like this,” said Jenifer Howard, MakerBot’s PR director.
The hand is made from non-toxic printable plastic and a new larger Robohand can easily be printed as the design is scalable. Costing only around $150 to make the Robohand is significantly cheaper than high-tech prosthetics that can cost over $50,000.
As the project is open-source Robohand is available to anybody, on Thingiverse, and will not be marketed as a product. Owen and Van As are raising funds via Fundly so they can improve their designs and help others with similar Robohands.
They have also just completed a Robohand for another child, Eden, who can be seen on this video trying her new hand for the first time.