3D printing and electronics go hand in hand, and sometimes include bionic innovation as well. Recently, one of the most inspiring cases we’ve come across involves the story of a veteran who has lost so much in life—as well as experiencing enormous impacts to his health.
Dinh Van Duong is a former Vietnamese pilot and is also now somewhat reminiscent of The Six Million Dollar Man, an iconic TV series many of you may remember from the ’70s. After a terrible plane crash that killed 20 of his soldiers and took his hands and legs, Mr. Duong has continued on despite such unbelievable adversity. Doctors began working with him to create bionic prostheses that would be effective without causing the need for further amputation of the arm. And as the Zortrax team points out in their recent case study, the hands that were 3D printed by 3D Master Company would not cost six million dollars; in fact, they would cost nearly half of what conventional prostheses cost. The team created numerous iterations of the bionic hands in the beginning, with the final prostheses being able to control the hands entirely by thought.
“When Mr. Duong wants to grasp an object the signals from his brain are transmitted to his muscle at which point they are picked up by sensors,” states Zortrax in their case study. “These sensors receive and digitize brainwaves and transmit them onto the circuit board of the arm. Each finger is controlled by a separate motor which allows a greater accuracy between thought and movement.”
3D Master Company was able to create a perfect fit for Mr. Duong by scanning his arm and then converting it into a 3D file for printing on Zortrax M200 3D printers. For the lightweight bionic fingers, they used Z-ULTRAT filament by Zortrax and then also provided a layer of silicone on top for better performance overall.
“With this bionic hand, I can hold a bottle of water and pour water into a cup. The first time I used this hand, it was difficult to control it using my thoughts,” says Mr. Duong. “After being instructed by technicians of 3D Master Company, I can use it with ease and I understand the basic working principle of this prosthetic hand.”
Nguyen Van Cuong, director of 3D Master Company, has plans to expand his innovative company further in the near future, using Zortrax 3D printers to create 500 more bionic prostheses—costing less than $3,500 each—for those in need in Vietnam.
Check out more about this recent case study here.
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