It seems as though every few days there is a new story about another person who, thanks to the advent of 3D printing, is able to once again gain use of their extremities. Thanks once again to an organization called e-NABLE, a little boy named Odysseus, in Greece, is the new owner of a 3D printed prosthetic hand.
Unlike the previously seen prosthetic hands, that have been 3D printed by members of e-NABLE, for children and adults around the globe, the hand that Odysseus has received is quite different. Peter Binkley, one of the main designers of what he calls the “Ody Hand” (named specifically for Odysseus), was faced with a rather interesting challenge.
Odysseus, who has no fingers on his left hand, also has almost no palm, and very minimal movement of his left wrist. For those familiar with how 3D printed prosthetic hands, such as the Cyborg Beast function, they require sufficient movement of the wrist in order to flex the fingers. When the wrist is flexed, it pulls on the cables that run from the wrist to the fingertips. This, in effect, bends the fingers, and allows for the recipient to have a functioning hand.
Because of Odysseus’ lack of wrist function, Peter Binkley and other volunteers came up with a solution; they would only include 2 fingers and 1 thumb on a custom made 3D printed prosthetic for Odysseus. Having only 2 fingers to bend, requires less tension, thus it would allow Odysseus’ weak wrist to hopefully control and bend the fingers.
“I decided on two fingers and a thumb, so that Ody would only be fighting the resistance of three digits,” explained Peter Binkley.
The hope here, is that with continued use of the Ody Hand, Odysseus will gain more control, range of motion, and strength in his wrist. Because he has not used these muscles ever before, they have become atrophied, and no longer function correctly.
“With practice, Ody’s range of motion should improve,” said Binkley.
Binkley and team aren’t done yet though. Odysseus has a very short palm, unlike that of most cases in which 3D printed prosthetic hands have been successful with. They are currently brainstorming ideas for methods in which they could possibly make some sort of “palm extension”. The hope is that once Odysseus gains enough movement of the fingers on the Ody Hand, he will be upgraded to using a 5-fingered Talon Hand, also created by Peter Binkley.
Odysseus has recently received the hand and is working on gaining full control. What do you think about the new hand that Odysseus has received? Discuss it in the Ody Hand thread on 3DPB.com Here is a video introduction of the Ody Hand by Peter Binkley.
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