I can not emphasize how much the entire 3D printing space has benefited by the open source nature that it has exhibited. Whether it be the open sourcing of the hardware itself, leading to swift innovation of 3D printing technology, or the open sourcing of various 3D printable designs, we have seen tremendous growth and development thanks to this model.
When it comes to 3D printing, one topic that never seems to get old is the fabrication of custom-built 3D printed prosthetics. Led by an organization called e-NABLE, designers, engineers, medical professionals and hobbyists have continued to innovate upon various open source designs, at quite the phenomenal rate. Just a few years ago, the idea of 3D printing an entire prosthetic hand was merely a pipe-dream, but today, literally thousands of children and adults have been given a hand (quite literally) in their everyday lives.
One pair of designers, named Debbie and Danny Leung, wanted to help innovate upon the 3D printed prosthetics space as well, but in doing so they wanted to incorporate a unique aspect to a design that has been around for a while — the Cyborg Beast. The Cyborg Beast is one of several models of e-NABLE hands that can be 3D printed on virtually any desktop FDM/FFF-based machine. It is a legend within the field, and one which Debby and Danny thought would make the perfect base for their creation, called the “Cosmogony hand.” The Cosmogony hand is unlike anything we have seen before.
“Art can inspire our lives with aesthetics and technology can improve our lives with functionality,” Debbie Leung tells 3DPrint.com. “The combination of art and technology creates a fun factor that is what this new light show hand with a cosmic theme, called Cosmogony does. I am always fascinated with the idea of unknowns in the Cosmo. So this is why I wanted to make a cosmic theme.”
The cosmic themed hand works like a normal e-NABLE prosthetic, but incorporates much more into the design as well. There are two modes, “display mode” and “play mode,” both of which provide for entertainment for the wearer and onlookers alike. In “display mode,” the hand features RGB LED lights in the fingertips which repeatedly change colors, as well as an LED dot matrix display that is hooked up to an accelerometer and changes images as the wearer moves the hand.
In “play mode,” the hand becomes a virtual video game that utilizes the accelerometer in order to play. It features a game called “Expand Your Universe,” which is played on the dot matrix display.
“A player moves the hand in a direction to control the main characters in the game,” Debbie tells us. “The main characters are four planets (four dots) moving together at the center. The blue lights blink in the fingertips, a smiley face appears, and they spread farther apart. To proceed to the next stage a player must successfully dodge asteroids sweeping across from random directions. If a player fails to dodge an asteroid, the red lights blink in the fingertips, a sad face appears, and the player has to start over at that last stage. This game is a metaphor of life. As we try to expand our heart and mind, our spirit might feel defeated by obstacles.”
The Cosmogony hand is virtually a Cyborg Beast that has been modified in order to house the electronics required. Flexible NinjaFlex filament was used and springs were utilized for the finger joints. The palm of the hand features a spiral shaped “Galaxy” that has compartments for the LED dot matrix on top. A Hubble Telescope design and spaceship are incorporated into the gauntlet of the hand, and it has a compartment for the required 9V battery and PCB.
As far as the electronics used, below is a complete list of what was required by Debbie and Danny in assembling their creation:
- Four RGB LED lights in the fingertips
- Three rainbow diffused LED lights on the palm
- Adafruit 8×8 LED dot matrix in the palm
- Six strings of fiber optic lights in the spiral galaxy
- A potentiometer on top of the gauntlet
- 9V battery in the gauntlet
- Dual axis accelerometer (Memsic 2125) in the gauntlet
- Arduino Nano in the gauntlet
As you can see, the design came out extremely well.
“The hand will represent e-NABLE, to be showcased in a fashion exhibition called ‘Utopian Bodies – Fashion Looks Forward’ at the Liljevalchs art gallery in Stockholm, and it explores human creativity and the possibilities of change,” Debbie tells us. “With this new theme I also want to embrace originality and imagination. We all can visualize something out of nothing with imagination, and it depends on whether we want to keep shaping it until it becomes what we envision – an inspiration or an innovation.”
Perhaps this hand isn’t meant for everyone with upper arm differences, but undoubtedly it will be very appealing to some. What do you think about this unique 3D printed prosthetic hand? Discuss in the Cosmogony hand forum thread on 3DPB.com. Check out the video of the hand in action below.