The YouBionic 3D printed prosthetic is one of those amazing innovations that we’ve had the privilege to watch evolve for some time now. Beginning as a more rudimentary concept and then a fully 3D printed prototype later last year, the YouBionic Hand has progressed as promised as the team works toward their goal which was set from the beginning in terms of turning the prosthetic into a high tech Arduino based device. Now, YouBionic has announced that they are in the next phase of development and we should see the 3D printed robotic device become an actual wearable device toward the end of this year.
Carefully planned, tested, and developed, the YouBionic product is not a quickly produced item meant to be a marketing flash in the pan–or a profit maker. The bionic device should allow those requiring a limb replacement to get closer than ever before to experiencing the most realistic thing possible to an authentic hand–and affordably so, as well, considering the features.
Founder Federico Ciccarese and his team have been fully committed to a serious research and development journey, as one would expect with a rather complex device, operating with an Arduino brain, that may transform the world of prosthetics more than ever before.
This is a product that had great interest behind it even while it was still in the conceptual form. Why? Because it will help many people–and it’s bringing forth something we’ve all been waiting to see for a long time. The area of 3D printed prosthetics is becoming a very positive trend in the world, and it’s obviously one we cover a lot, featuring companies like e-NABLE and Limbitless Solutions, who focus on offering simple but highly functional prosthetics with previously unheard of affordability and the goal of self sustainability for developing areas.
YouBionic has a bit more of a niche as they have worked hard toward integrating intuitive electronics into the prosthetic, which may not be as easy on the budget, but will be well worth the expense at a targeted price of €1000.
“The first experiments on the prototype proved excellent,” Ciccarese told 3DPrint.com. “We validated our initial idea that material deformation is necessary in order to optimize the hand’s movements.”
Their project has been directed with great momentum all along but given a great push lately as their research into muscular fibers has given them the information–and inspiration needed–for a comprehensive, 3D printed bionic hand. As they head into the last phases, they are ready to seek not only feedback but are looking for investors to bring the full product into the marketplace.
“Now that the design and the choice of electronic components have been established, we can proceed to the next phase of development,” Ciccarese told 3DPrint.com. “What we want to obtain by the end of the year is a wearable product that may satisfy our project’s requirements and stand the first lab tests.”
Indeed the YouBionic concept has traveled from idea to prototype to a very polished and futuristic looking design. This should excite anyone hoping to find a highly functioning prosthetic that will allow for them to do things they never could before thanks to the genius of YouBionic, which has been responsible for creating a system of biomimicking muscle sensors that work off of Arduino software. The sensors are intuitive and able to allow the hand to respond to what is an intended movement emanating from the actual brain of the wearer. It’s almost staggering to try and imagine how the whole system actually works–as well as how much R&D time and money must go into such a design.
The team saw 3D printing as the only choice for such a device, in combination with the smart electronics, due to the durability and flexibility allowed.
“We are very excited about what this technology is capable of and we want to believe in it now, as its strengths are in the geometric construction potential and the ability to optimize the price of single, unique, bespoke products,” states the YouBionic team.
The amount of mobility demonstrated in the latest iteration is highly impressive due to the specialized mechanics the team has built in, manipulating the device through geometric control. The team is able to make the hand in one single 3D print.
“Flexible geometries deform themselves as muscles, contractions, and releases as fibers to make the best movement–as if it were a biological limb,” states the team on their website.
All of the Arduino, servers, sensors, and electronics are standard which adds affordability for the device. On testing, the team has been very impressed with their decision due to the quality of the components–furthering their resolve to keep the design as simple as possible while still offering the maximum amount of innovation.