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NEU Robotics Lab and the 3D Laboratories of Near East University, an international higher education institution based in Turkey, led a collaborative project to create 3D printed prosthetic hands that could potentially be used commercially in the future.

Engineers and researchers from the two departments of Near East University utilized Cura software to accurately convert 3D models into 3D print files to 3D print prosthetic hands proportionally. Various screenshots and images provided by the engineers of Near East University revealed that the Ultimaker 2 Extended 3D printer was utilized throughout the testing phase to create the team’s first prototype.

Near East University noted that the engineers from its Robotic Lab and 3D Laboratories led a long design phase to ensure that each component of the prosthetic hand was created and developed to mimic various activities of the human hand. However, the engineers explained that the working prototype of the team’s prosthetic hand was not designed specifically to replicate the movement of the human hand in all aspects. The team plans to evaluate their latest prosthetic hand prototype and come to a consensus as to which component of the device should be enhanced, improved or replaced.

Structurally and conceptually, the prosthetic hand designed by Near East University is close to being complete. Mechanically, the device still requires a considerable amount of changes and improvements in order to be actually utilized commercially, by a patient. The engineers revealed that the entire project is a long-term challenge which the team aims to achieve over time. They further emphasized that transforming the prototype into a fully functional hand prosthesis will be the most difficult aspect of the project.

Recently, the Memphis School of Excellence (MSE) brought in STEM/Project-based learning curriculum developer Mehmet Gokcak to the school to build a prosthetic arm for an 8th grade student basketball player named Dontavius. Within a three-month period, researchers at MSE in collaboration with Gokcak and the Enable Community Foundation built a fully functional prosthetic arm with the LulzBot Mini 3D printer, which is similar to the Ultimaker 2 Extended in concept. The LulzBot 3D printer is a high performance printer which can utilize all types of filaments, including industrial-grade materials, metals and plastic.

The Ultimaker 2 Extended also supports an open filament system, which can support a wide range of filaments including PLA, ABS, CPE, CPE+, PC and Nylon. More importantly, the Ultimaker 2 Extended features a swappable nozzle, which would allow engineers at Near East University to pursue their projects without any issues with materials. Some parts that need a robust frame or internal component may require a metal-based filament while the rest can simply be printed with plastic.

Ersin Aytac, Engineer at Near East University Innovation and Information Technologies Center, announced that the university’s researchers are actively collaborating with local hospitals to test the applicability of their 3D printed prosthetic hand. Aytac further noted that the team is also creating prostheses based on MRI and CT scans of patients at local hospitals.

“We used the images of the patient’s MRI, CT and the organ models reproduced by the 3-dimensional printer in the field of child surgery. Now we are working on a robotic hand in addition to the studies we are conducting with our hospital. First, this hand will work as a robotic hand, and then can be used as a patient prosthesis,” said Aytac.

Discuss in the Near East University forum at 3DPB.com.

[Source/Images: Near East University]

 





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