Over the past few years we have seen rapid progress in the use of 3D printing to create low cost alternatives to traditional prostheses for amputees. The latest development involves the exiii team from Japan whom we previously reported on for their handii device. In review, the team is made up of former Sony and Panasonic engineers, they set out to create a low cost myoelectric prosthesis that was not only functional but also stylish and customizable. The result of the efforts is the HACKberry, a sleek and functional $300 prosthesis made up of 3D printed components and myoelectric sensors. The sensors interact with a smartphone to actuate the fingers of the device. The design won them a James Dyson award in 2013.
The exiii team felt that their ability to test and improve the device was limited, so they have open-sourced the design with the hope that international makers and users can improve upon the device to lead to a higher quality next-gen model. Ultimately they hope to fabricate a high quality version that may run in the low $1000 range.