We recently covered Japanese researchers’ efforts to help children too young to use a wheelchair with the Magic Carpet device, aiming to provide mobility to a group usually overlooked. Now the Coming Up Short Handed project hopes to develop open source prosthetics, enabling access for those who can’t afford commercial products.
US-based Ivan Owen originally developed a working mechanical hand to be used as part of a costume, but when he uploaded a video of the device onto Youtube he was contacted by South African Richard Van As, who saw how the home-made prosthesis could be beneficial to both himself and others with mobility problems. The two formed the current project, which aims to use basic techniques to create low-cost mechanical aids as an alternative to expensive professionally-designed options, as well as provide instructions on how others can build them themselves. The first design is a mechanical finger, demonstrated in the video below:
Coming Up Short Handed isn’t the only project of its kind – the Open Prosthetics Wiki is also doing similar work in this field. Both projects could help victims of disease, war or accidents – especially in poorer countries – to regain full use of their body.
Spotted by: Murray Orange