While 3D printed prosthetic hands have given lots of people the impression that all it takes is for the device to fit the patient’s remaining arm, the reality is most such contraptions are not very practical. That’s because each patient is different and the way that power is transferred to the prosthetic may work better for some people than others. At Rice University, a team of engineering students cleverly named Carpal Diem has developed a platform for testing 3D printed prosthetic hands built for kids who are born with deformed extremities.
The system relies on a set of objects, such as a sphere, cylinder, and a rectangular prism, each of which has force sensors built in. A printed robotic arm controlled by a computer is used to grab the objects in different ways, while the objects report on the force and its distribution that’s applied by the fingers of the hand.
The goal is to eventually provide a standardized set of tools using which anyone building 3D printed arm prostheses can use to validate how well they’ll work before handing them off to those who would use them. That’s critically important because unless the prosthetic device is significantly better than a poorly formed hand, the child may find novelty in it, but end up not using it on a daily basis.
Here’s video with the Carpal Diem team:
Via: Rice University…