A team of designers and engineers successfully produced a 3D-printed, made-to-measure bionic hand in just 10 hours.
Experts from research and education group WMG, which is part of the U.K.’s University of Warwick, worked with C Enterprise and Printed Electronics to design and print the bionic hand with inbuilt sensors.
The bionic hand is the result of the IMPACT Project, which is led by Iterate Design and Innovation. The project to develop the hand was inspired by a similar model developed by Ben Ryan of prosthetics specialist Ambionics. Ryan’s son had his forearm amputated after birth and he decided to make him a prosthetic forearm.
“The IMPACT team have taken this design further by embedding the electrical circuitry linking the motion controlling muscle sensors with the motors and battery into the structure of the bionic hand, thus providing a durable and aesthetic solution,” WMG explained in a statement. Engineers have tested the durability of the printed electrical circuitry to understand how well the component will withstand bending and flexing, it added.
A website has been set up that lets people order the made-to-measure bionic hands by providing their arm measurements, as well as their preferred colors.
3D printing is making its presence felt in a growing number of areas, from health to manufacturing and construction. Earlier this year, for example, scientists 3D-printed a working, vascularized heart using human cells.
The 60th Maintenance Squadron at Travis Air Force Base in California is spearheading an effort to produce 3D-printed aircraft parts. The squadron recently became the first field unit in the Air Force to be certified with an industrial-size 3D printer that is authorized for the production of nonstructural aircraft parts.
Last year Marines used a specialized 3D concrete printer to create a 500-square-foot barracks room in just 40 hours, according to the Marine Corps. Normally, it takes 10 Marines five days to construct a barracks hut out of wood.
Fox News’ Chris Ciaccia contributed to this article.
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By James Rogers