A five-year old South African boy born without fingers can now play catch with friends thanks to a prosthetic created by two hobbyist designers and a 3D printer.
Going by the awesome name, Robohand, the plastic paw slips over the hand like a glove, with five strings along the back of the device which control the movement of the fingers. When the wearer bends their wrist, the tension of the strings increases and the fingers are pulled in.
The boy, Liam, is the lucky recipient of the hand after his mother found a blog run by two friends Rich Van As and Ivan Owens, who had been experimenting with prosthetics and writing about their developments. She contacted them and they agreed to create Liam a gauntlet that could replace the fingers he is missing.
Keeping it simple, stupid
What's truly amazing about the Robohand design is how simple it appears to be. There are no wires or electronics and all plastic parts where made using 3D printers. The fruits of their labour can be seen in the video below
Also, Rich and Ivan have decided that their designs will be open source, letting anyone build on them and create even better functionality. The project has been posted to the MakerBot Thingiverse; a repository for 3D printer designs which are free to download and replicate.
This is just the beginning, though. The Robohand team is keen to kick off the next project and are calling for donations to help set themselves up. If you feel generous, head over to their Fundly page.