3D-printed Robohands help kids without fingers

Carpenter Richard van As made his own digits after losing his fingers in an accident. Now he's helping kids by 3D-printing prosthetics and running an Indiegogo campaign.

Indiegogo

People who have lost fingers can try to get robotic hands that cost tens of thousands of dollars. Or they can try to 3D-print their own hand.

That's what Richard van As did after a woodworking accident in 2011 cost him four fingers. The South African carpenter decided to build his own fingers from hardware store parts but eventually turned to 3D printing.

Using a MakerBot Replicator 2 printer, he collaborated with Ivan Owen to create a prosthetic finger after much trial and error. They've since printed hands for four South African children who lack fingers.

The first was Liam, a 5-year-old boy with amniotic band syndrome, who was born without fingers on his right hand. At the request of his mother, Van As and Owen produced Robohand, a low-cost, 3D-printed prosthetic.

The Robohand works by a series of cables and bungee cords that are controlled by movements of the wrist and arm.

Check out this video of Liam using his Robohand, performing precise movements like picking up coins.

Aside from distributing the open-source files for Robohand on Thingiverse, the partners are now trying to raise $10,000 in an Indiegogo campaign so they can help more children for free.

The cash is needed to buy materials such as PLA plastic for the 3D printer and hardware to assemble the hands.

Check out the campaign video here and images of the Robohand kids in the gallery below.

 

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