Suitability of the Openly Accessible 3D Printed Prosthetic Hands for War-Wounded Children

Front Robot AI. 2021 Jan 11;7:594196. doi: 10.3389/frobt.2020.594196. eCollection 2020.


The field of rehabilitation and assistive devices is being disrupted by innovations in desktop 3D printers and open-source designs. For upper limb prosthetics, those technologies have demonstrated a strong potential to aid those with missing hands. However, there are basic interfacing issues that need to be addressed for long term usage. The functionality, durability, and the price need to be considered especially for those in difficult living conditions. We evaluated the most popular designs of body-powered, 3D printed prosthetic hands. We selected a representative sample and evaluated its suitability for its grasping postures, durability, and cost. The prosthetic hand can perform three grasping postures out of the 33 grasps that a human hand can do. This corresponds to grasping objects similar to a coin, a golf ball, and a credit card. Results showed that the material used in the hand and the cables can withstand a 22 N normal grasping force, which is acceptable based on standards for accessibility design. The cost model showed that a 3D printed hand could be produced for as low as $19. For the benefit of children with congenital missing limbs and for the war-wounded, the results can serve as a baseline study to advance the development of prosthetic hands that are functional yet low-cost.

Keywords: 3D printing; assistive technologies; grasping; prosthetics; war-wounded.