Open Bionics under the Open Hand Project continues to find itself closer to the top prize for Intel’s Make It Wearable competition. Those following the development of the project would not be surprised by the recent accolades received by the project. Born from the mind of a design team bent on aiding people without the use of a hand, Open Bionics seeks to fine-tune a remarkable bionic hand. The dramatic affordability of the product is a direct result of reliance upon 3D printing. When hearing the anecdotal experiences of Joel Gibbard, his drive to provide a low-cost option for those in need appears a natural inclination binding his compassion with his passion for robotics.
The recent awards bring a notoriety to the project that combines multiple materials for the finished product. Simply by making it to the finals, Open Bionics earned $50k for their project and the potential to bring in the final prize at $500k. Because Open Bionics is open-source, all the nuts and bolts from the project will be posted on the source website. The philosophy behind the decision stems from the want to allow anyone to improve and customize the designs then upload them for sharing. The hand itself is a marvel of ingenuity utilizing steel cables for tendons, electric motors for muscles, and 3D printed parts acting as skin and bone. The entire model is controlled by electronics permitting a very natural movement on par with advanced bionics.
With a promised price of $1,000 versus the outrageous $18,000 for non-3D printed bionics, the open-source project inspires hope for disabled individuals hampered by financial restrictions. As if the good-will already offered by Open Bionics were not enough, they have planned a project for child bionic hands that would be incalculably helpful for an underserved portion of people with a need for prosthetic limbs. The final prize would certainly help buttress the endeavors from Open Bionics. Good luck!