Amputees going through the traditional routes for a replacement appendage either have to make do with hook systems developed in the 1940s or pay upwards of USD 10,000 if they want functionality or realistic-looking prosthetics. We’ve already seen Robohand develop an affordable, open-source prosthetics system, and now the UK’s Open Hand Project is doing something similar, with its 3D-printed, robotic hand that retails for under USD 1,000.
Having successfully surpassed its funding target on Indiegogo, the group is now working to distribute its first product, the Dextrus, a hand made of electric motors and cables that mimic the abilities of a real hand. Its affordability comes down to the fact that most of its parts are 3D-printed — allowing anyone to make alterations on the fly according to their needs — and the open-source nature of the project, which is releasing the device without a patent. The Dextrus uses electrodes to read signals from the remaining muscles in the user’s arm and features standard connectors to enable it to be attached to existing prostheses. The video below shows how functional the Dextrus is:
The Open Hand Project sold the first working version of its Dextrus for just GBP 700 to its Indiegogo backers, and hopes to eventually reduce this to under GBP 630. Are there other medical devices that could be made less expensive through community-based, open-source design?