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OpenHandProject: You can now 3D Print a Prosthetic Hand

The Open Hand Project aims to increase accessibility of advanced prosthetic hands to amputees through the development of the Dextrus hand, a low-cost robotic hand that provides similar functionality to a human hand. With plans to sell the hands for less than $1000 (£630), the Open Hand Project is open-source, allowing anyone to make and sell their own robotic hand without patent restrictions. This initiative helps to distribute the devices to developing countries where import taxes might otherwise increase distribution costs.

The Dextrus hand is designed for individuals seeking an advanced robotic hand, including amputees, researchers exploring control systems for telepresence robots, or hobbyists creating a humanoid robot. The hand uses electric motors and steel cables in place of muscles and tendons, respectively, while 3D printed plastic parts serve as bones, and a rubber coating acts as skin. The electronics control these components to provide natural movement that can handle various objects. The hand can be connected to an existing prosthesis and uses stick-on electrodes to read signals from remaining muscles to control the hand’s movements.

Every donation to the Open Hand Project helps with the initiative, including the option to receive perks for your pledge. With a “all or nothing” campaign, donors will receive a refund if the goal is not met. The Dextrus hand is not yet as mobile or polished as it will become, and future work will focus on refining and testing the design and software, as well as creating printed circuit boards. Once complete, the plans and code will be uploaded to the internet for public use. The long-term goal is to create accessible prosthetic hands for children using 3D printing, allowing for cost-effective replacements as they grow.