Sponsored By

A 3D-printed robotic hand for amputees has won the 2015 James Dyson Award in the United Kingdom. Joel Gibbard, a 25-year-old robotics engineer, told the BBC that he can 3D-scan an amputee and build a custom-fitted socket and hand in less than two days. Using conventional technology, this process typically can take weeks or months and cost much more.

Norbert Sparrow

August 28, 2015

2 Min Read
3D-printed prosthetic hand wins UK Dyson award

A 3D-printed robotic hand for amputees has won the 2015 James Dyson Award in the United Kingdom. Joel Gibbard, a 25-year-old robotics engineer, told the BBC that he can 3D-scan an amputee and build a custom-fitted socket and hand in less than two days. Using conventional technology, this process typically can take weeks or months and cost much more. "We have a device at the lower-end of the pricing scale and the upper end of functionality," Gibbard told the BBC. He will use the £2,000 cash prize to accelerate prototyping of the prosthetic, which he hopes to bring to market in 2016.

GibbardDeveloped through Gibbard's Open Bionics project, which raised £43,593 in an Indiegogo campaign in 2013, the hand is designed using biomimetic principles: Soft robotics closely replicate bones, ligaments and skin and keep the weight of the device down, reports Wired. EMG sensors enable individual finger movement and fine-tune the grip such that the user can pick up an egg without crushing it.

Gibbard plans to make the files available to anyone through open sourcing. "This is about driving a big change and democratizing technology," he wrote in his submission for the Dyson award. Having won the UK award, he is now eligible for the international award and a £30,000 prize.

Gibbard plans to charge £2,000 for the prosthetic, which would include the custom fitting, according to the BBC. Current advanced prosthetics with finger movements similar to Gibbard's invention can cost as much as £60,000.

In the video below, Gibbard explains how the robotic hand works.

Last year, an inexpensive, inflatable incubator for use in the developing world won the international award. Design engineer James Roberts, who invented the device, shared some of the key design challenges his team faced with PlasticsToday in this article.

Founded by British inventor Sir James Dyson, best known for his eponymous line of vacuum cleaners, the James Dyson Award is an international student design award, organized and run by the James Dyson Foundation charitable trust. For more information about the program, go to jamesdysonaward.org.

About the Author(s)

Norbert Sparrow

Editor in chief of PlasticsToday since 2015, Norbert Sparrow has more than 30 years of editorial experience in business-to-business media. He studied journalism at the Centre Universitaire d'Etudes du Journalisme in Strasbourg, France, where he earned a master's degree.

www.linkedin.com/in/norbertsparrow

Sign up for the PlasticsToday NewsFeed newsletter.

You May Also Like