Back in March, we did a story on a Japanese company called exiii, which had come up with quite the amazing new 3D printed myoelectric bionic hand that was controlled with the help of a smartphone. Being in development for several years, the company elected to unveil it on the grand stage at SXSW. Besides being ahead of its time when it comes to bionic prostheses, it also stunned the crowds by the mere fact that it cost less than $300 to build.
Using a smartphone as its computer, and 3D printed parts for much of the hardware, exiii seemed to have quite the innovative piece of machinery on their hands. Yesterday, exiii announced the release of the open source design files and data for their latest and greatest bionic hand, the HACKberry.
“We released the design data of HACKberry, our latest 3D-printed bionic hand, as open source for the purpose of speeding up the development through participation of cooperators from all over the world,” a representative from exiii explained. “In addition, we hope that cooperators will deliver this artificial arm to those we cannot reach ourselves due to distance and other constraints.”
Named after Hackberries, which are a species of elm tree that grow many branches, the company hopes that their open source bionic hand will garner the attention of developers, designers, artificial arm users, and innovative minds worldwide, ultimately leading to further innovation.
“The name represents our vision to ‘hack’ at problems, grow branches of joy that reach out to users and enable their ideas and efforts to bear fruit (‘berries’),” they explain. “Through the trial use of HACKberry in the users everyday lives, we aim to discover new problems and issues for further improvement.”
The HACKberry has several new features when compared to its predecessor, the Handii. It has a very flexible wrist that allows for more “expressive” movements, as well as a smaller palm, making it more attractive for women to wear, and it is compatible with digital camera batteries, which ensures that it lasts long on each charge and is entirely safe for its subject to wear.
The fingers on the HACKberry can differentiate between “picking up” and “grasping” actions, depending on what the user wants to do. For example, a ball might be grasped, while a spoon or fork would simply be picked up. When fingertips on the HACKberry come together in a pinching motion, there is no space whatsoever between the two touching fingers, ensuring even objects as thing as a piece of paper can easily be handled.
All of the open source files can be found on the exiii GitHub page. This includes 3D data for printing and source codes for software, as well as hand, sensor, and battery substrate data and more.
This is truly an incredible 3D printed prosthetic hand, which may quite quickly become a sensation among those individuals who find the price of traditional prostheses way too high. What do you think about this device? Discuss in the exiii HACKberry forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out the incredible video demonstrations of this hand below.