3D printed prosthetic hands and arms have received a lot of media attention over the past year. These custom-made devices can be created for a fraction of the cost at which typical prostheses usually sell, and they can be created on an individual basis, fully personalized for their wearer. Open Bionics is a startup that has really made a name for itself in the space of personalized 3D printed prostheses.
In January, Open Bionics, based in the Bristol Robotics Lab’s technology incubator, stunned CES crowds with what they called the “world’s most advanced 3D printed robotic hand.” Those at the event who were lucky enough to “shake” the hand, donned by Daniel Melville, said it looked like the real thing. While this was an incredible innovation from Open Bionics, the group did not stop there. Now the company has started over, this time focusing not only on functionality but also on aesthetics.
The recipient of their latest prosthetic arm is actress and Youtube star Grace Mandeville. This 3D printed prosthetic arm is unlike anything we’ve seen before, because not only is it a fully functional device, but it’s also a thing of beauty.
“We printed Grace with a socket and a robotic hand in three days and because 3D printing is so affordable we can add Swarovski crystals and create something really eye-catching that won’t break the bank,” said Samantha Payne, COO of Open Bionics, at 3DPrint.com. “We also added four fiber optic wires to the outlet so that every time Grace closes her hand, a blue light projects onto her 3D printed arm.”
As you can see in the photos, Grace’s hand is covered in crystals and looks very elegant. Could this be the future of prosthetics?
“I really love fashion, so I dress to illustrate my personality, so being able to wear a creative prosthesis that shows who I am looks awesome – it’s like a unique accessory that no one else can wear, basically. like vintage Chanel, ”Grace explained. . “You should be proud of what makes you different, and I think being able to wear a fun prosthesis is something you can be proud of! Basically you tell the audience “my arm is cool and I know”.
The idea behind Graces’ arm was to show the possibilities of prosthetics in the 3D printing space. Open Bionics wanted to show that prosthetics can be both functional and fun. When creating this new arm, the company used a completely new grip design and placed EMG sensors above the elbow. This allows Grace to control her hand using muscle signals from her back.
“Amputees often told us they wanted something that would get a compliment and not a weird look, something a long way from a ‘flesh-colored’ prosthesis,” Payne told us.
Mandeville’s arm is certainly something beautiful and fashionable, something that requires a double grip, not for the fact that it is missing a member, but for the fact that its new member is more beautiful than that of n anyone else. Grace’s sister, Amelia Mandeville, also agreed with this, asking, “Who wants to be the same?”
In a world where people tend to follow fashion trends, it’s refreshing to see Grace and Open Bionics step in and say, “Look at me! I am different and I am beautiful! “.
“Why try to blend in, when you can have a work of art? Grace asked. “I feel like a warrior with it, I’m proud to wear a prosthesis.”
During the unveiling of the new prosthetic arm, at the Wearable Technology Show in London, many onlookers and attendees believed Grace was not missing an arm but instead was wearing some sort of fashionable sleeve, trying to make a fashion statement.
“I had to keep putting my arm out and showing people that I wasn’t wearing some kind of glove, but a real bionic arm,” she explained. “I found the hand really easy to use, I tried it for the first time on Monday and was able to control the hand straight away. “
So much for traditional prostheses! Grace has actually owned a traditional prosthesis for much of her life, but admits she barely wears it just because she doesn’t feel the need. That said, she plans to wear this much sleeker design, thanks to the team at Open Bionics.
“This is another design iteration after our success at CES,” Payne explained. “We’re very nimble and when amputees tell us what they’re looking for, we listen and try to overcome those design challenges. Grace wanted a light and fashionable technical piece. Grace sees prosthetics as fashion accessories and as an optional addition to add something extra to an outfit. So we hope that we have met this expectation ”
As for Open Bionics, they plan to start selling 3D printed robotic prostheses within the next year. What do you think of this amazingly beautiful 3D printed robotic arm? Discuss in the 3D printed Open Bionics forum thread at 3DPB.com. Check out some other photos provided by Open Bionics below.