Home Medical Open Bionics presents 3D-printed hand with finger

Open Bionics presents 3D-printed hand with finger

The British company Open Bionics wants to use 3D printing to make cheaper and better prostheses possible. The start-up has now presented a 3D-printed hand for a man in London for the first time. The man lost his hand 30 years ago and received a usable prosthesis for the first time thanks to the development of Open Bionics.

Suleman Chohan, 50, spent three decades looking for a solution that could help him with activities that require two hands:  “When I had my amputation, there wasn’t much around. My NHS centre gave me a dummy latex hand that didn’t have any function. It was really heavy, so I didn’t really use it.”

The new prosthetic, called the ‘Hero Gauntlet’, was specially made for him using 3D scanning and 3D printing and allows Chohan to move and control the fingers of the prosthetic.

This technological innovation has allowed Chohan to not only rediscover his passion for VR gaming by being able to hold both controllers, but also to ride his mountain bike again, cook more easily, shop and use his phone. Suleman described his 3D printed hand as ‘beautiful’ and enjoys people reacting positively to his new wearable technology, he said: “When I’m out with it sometimes it gets a lot of attention from people. It makes me feel pretty cool.”

“When I lock the digits, I’ve got my finger fixed there, I can swipe on my phone and type text messages. Whereas before, without the prosthetic, I ended up smashing my phone so many times.”

The “Hero Gauntlet” is an active hand prosthesis that is manufactured individually for each user using 3D scanning, 3D modeling and 3D printing. It enables people without fingers or with partial hand amputations to regain hand functionality. Suleman reports increased self-confidence in everyday life, as he can now carry more when shopping and hold food safely when cooking.

Suleman has been working with the team behind the Hero Gauntlet device for around a year. He described the process: “I’m just proud and honoured to be a part of that. It’s a work of art, it’s amazing. Honestly, it’s brilliant stuff they can do.”

Open Bionics, the company behind the Hero Gauntlet, worked closely with a group of test subjects to assess the performance of certain functions under everyday stress.

Open Bionics mechanical engineer, Hellie Mutter, said: “We designed the product in collaboration with users via lab testing, weekly diaries, and clinic visits. We were really excited to see how intuitive our users found the active operation mechanism, which meant that even the early prototype versions were able to open-up new experiences for our users. It’s been especially great to hear how the look of the device has given some of our test users a confidence boost regarding their limb difference.”

This development not only shows the progress in prosthesis technology, but also underlines the transformative power of 3D printing in medical technology, which offers customized solutions and significantly improves users’ quality of life.

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