2014 saw the emergence of Youbionic, a company based in Italy that was working to create a 3D printed bionic prosthetic hand controlled by an Arduino microcontroller and commercial servomotors. The company also developed an intuitive system of biomimicking muscle sensors for its bionic hand, and took advantage of the durability and flexibility that 3D printing technology offers to build the hand, which quickly completed human testing trials and became available for pre-order last spring.
The Youbionic hand can be worn and controlled through muscle contractions, just like a real hand, and is able to accomplish basic and complex movements. The hand was developed by pairing its main skeletal structure with rotational transportation leveraging mechanisms, which are synchronized to get a double rotation.
The last time we checked in with Youbionic, the company was on the hunt for investors to finance its R&D activities, so it could take the 3D printed bionic prosthetic to a whole new level. Federico Ciccarese, the Founder of Youbionic, told us that he started the company in order to “contribute by my work to the evolution of mankind.”
Ciccarese told 3DPrint.com a year ago, “In 2017 we will be able to show the results of the work that I have done with the University of Siena on a great project that can multiply the functions of Youbionic hand, I’m talking about an Exoskeleton. Thanks to this ecosystem of devices we will be able to transport the senses and perceive remotely.”
We’ve seen several examples of 3D printed exoskeleton hands and arms, feet and legs over the last few years, but knowing the level of sophistication Youbionic is capable of delivering, any exoskeleton it creates holds undeniable promise.
“In the next years we will see the arrival of Bionic limbs and exoskeletons worn in everyday life to help us carry out chores at home, while traveling, at work, and certainly also in everyday life,” Ciccarese told us.
“By these devices, we will be able to transport our senses and experience the world remotely.”
But, however amazing it would be to see a Youbionic exoskeleton, what the company has created now is even more innovative. Here’s a relevant question for you to ponder – have you ever wanted to become a cyborg?
“I would speak about the final result that we have achieved but I ask you to imagine moving it in the future, when the machines will be an integral part of our body,” Ciccarese told 3DPrint.com. “In fact we are working to lay the foundations of a new technology, because we are convinced that we can augment the body in addition to vision (I refer of course to Augmented Reality).”
Meet the Double Hand, a double-fisted robotic device that brings to mind an image of multi-armed Hindu goddess Kali. The latest wearable Youbionic innovation straps around the wearer’s palm and lower arm, and is controlled by flexing one’s fingers; two fingers control one hand, while the other two fingers control the second. It moves just like a real part of your body (if your body contains three to six hands, that is), with the ability to perform simple and complex movements – for example, by flexing your fingers slowly, the Double Hand can make a pinching motion.
We are taking the first steps to build devices that work by supporting our native ability to obtain extraordinary abilities.
This is the first wearable robotic devices that will evolve the human race in a something new, to turn the Native Human to Augmented Human.”
Just like the original Youbionic prosthetic hand, the new Double Hand is 3D printed, and also uses Arduino and Raspberry Pi technologies.
If you’re interested in becoming a cyborg yourself, you can purchase the 3D files for the Double Hand through the Youbionic online store for €199; the file for the device’s support is €49. If you’d rather skip putting it together and just want to order the fully 3D printed Double Hand, it’s available for €1,799, though you will miss out on the personalization aspect.
“After you get the files you can print your Double Hand Support right away or you can decide to modify it to your liking, perhaps to make it more personal with a name or drawing, you can change the size to make it a little bigger or a little smaller,” the description states. “Or even you can improve it to get new shapes. Limits do not exist, space for dreams.”
What do you think about the Double Hand? Let us know your thoughts; join the discussion of this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com, or leave a comment below.[Images: Youbionic]