WMG and a team of engineers at the University of Warwick, with the help of other companies, have created 3D-printed bionic hands that can be produced within 10 hours. The 3D-printed bionic arm has a muscle sensor to control the thumb joint, which functions like a human hand. Bionic hands are part of the IMPACT project, thanks to Ainnovate UK’s 900,000 pound funding.
THE IMPACT HAND WAS INSPIRED BY A SIMILAR DEVICE CREATED BY BEN RYAN, WHO DESIGNED AN ARM FOR HIS SON AFTER HIS FOREARM WAS AMPUTATED AFTER HIS BIRTH. Ryan decided to make a new arm for his son. The IMPACT team improved the design by embedding circuits connecting and controlling muscle sensors, motors and batteries in the structure of the bionic hand.
Engineers at WMG and the University of Warwick conducted durability tests to understand how the printed circuit would withstand repeated bends, and the team created a website where the bionic hand could be ordered. Buyers can enter the size of their arms, choose the color they want, and the custom 3D printhand is complete and can be used within 10 hours. The printing process uses a multi-axis, multi-material 3D printer to create this 3D printhand.