Rapid prototyping prosthetic hand acting by a low-cost shape-memory-alloy actuator

J Artif Organs. 2018 Jun;21(2):238-246. doi: 10.1007/s10047-017-1014-1. Epub 2018 Jan 8.


The purpose of this article is to develop a new concept of modular and operative prosthetic hand based on rapid prototyping and a novel shape-memory-alloy (SMA) actuator, thus minimizing the manufacturing costs. An underactuated mechanism was needed for the design of the prosthesis to use only one input source. Taking into account the state of the art, an underactuated mechanism prosthetic hand was chosen so as to implement the modifications required for including the external SMA actuator. A modular design of a new prosthesis was developed which incorporated a novel SMA actuator for the index finger movement. The primary objective of the prosthesis is achieved, obtaining a modular and functional low-cost prosthesis based on additive manufacturing executed by a novel SMA actuator. The external SMA actuator provides a modular system which allows implementing it in different systems. This paper combines rapid prototyping and a novel SMA actuator to develop a new concept of modular and operative low-cost prosthetic hand.

Keywords: Low-cost prosthesis; Rapid prototyping; Shape-memory-alloy; Underactuated mechanism.

MeSH terms

  • Alloys
  • Artificial Limbs*
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Hand*
  • Humans
  • Prostheses and Implants
  • Prosthesis Design*


  • Alloys