#科技头条#【50年,为了等一只完美的手】

#科技头条#【50年,为了等一只完美的手】Delgado生来就没有左手,他戴着一只钩子假肢度过了大部分的成年人生活。三年前,他换了一只4.2万刀的肌电假肢,但新假肢只有3根手指能动。Delgado开始在网上求助。花费了50刀的材料费与14个小时的3D打印,一家公司为他量身打造了一只ABS塑料的完美假肢。3D打印的假肢便宜且轻便,更像真手一样灵活,它承重达到20-30磅,非常适合在仓库工作的Delgado。这家公司还附送了他一些额外的材料,使他能够自行替换某些部件。

http://mashable.com/2014/04/22/3d-printed-hand/

科技头条1

 

Jose Delgado, Jr., likes the reaction he’s getting to his new 3D-printed hand. “Wow,” his bosses at the warehouse say. "Where did you get that?”

It’s the most realistic prosthesis he’s ever owned, though it took Delgado, 53, five decades to get here.

When he was a teenager, Delgado was often picked last for softball or baseball, even though he and his brothers regularly played catch. “They didn’t think I could hold a ball or a bat,” said Delgado, who was born without a left hand.

At the time, Delgado had a hook prosthesis that worked via rubber bands. When he unbent his arm, the bands pulled open the hook. Delgado spent most of his adult life using hook prosthetics, until three years ago when he got his first myoelectric replacement.

It was certainly an upgrade. The arm fits over his stump, and sensors against the forearm react to muscle movement to open and close the prosthetic hand. Yet even this device, which Delgado has worn for three years, has its limitations. Of the five fingers, only three are truly functional (they pinch together, like the hook he once wore), and the prosthesis can be uncooperative and unpredictable.

Delgado, who lives in Elgin, Ill., explains that when he drives a car and hits a bump, the myoelectric hand releases the steering wheel and “seems to do whatever it wants do to.” Plus, “you have to let it warm up on your muscles, because if it’s cold, it won’t do anything for a few minutes.”

These frustrations finally drove Delgado to look online for an alternative. The search led him first to E-enabling the Future, a non-profit consortium of roughly 700 tinkerers, scientists, occupational therapists and innovators all devoted to building and refining 3D mechanical hands for those in need.

It was there Delgado got the first glimpse of what would later become his own 3D hand, and where he found Jeremy Simon.

Simon, 39, is an entrepreneur who sold his 15-year-old information security company a few years ago and launched 3D printing blog 3D Universe. “I was in the exploratory phase and 3D printing caught my attention. I saw the tremendous potential.” As he began to work with 3D printing, Simon also went in search of 3D printing’s killer app, which led him to E-nabling and its prosthesis work. “It’s the coolest use of 3D printing I’ve found.”

After they met, the two talked in-depth about Delgado's hand, but Simon was a bit anxious about printing and delivering a working 3D prosthesis. “I was a little nervous, but was pretty up front with him the first time: I had not had a chance to do this for a real person.” In the past, Simon had printed and built hands meant for children, but other professionals had handled the fitting process.

Nevertheless, Simon took some measurements, then started preparing to print and build the hand. Though Simon was using Jorge Zuniga's design, he did have to ensure that it would be a good fit for Delgado, which meant essentially scaling the entire model via computer to fit over Delgado’s stump and forearm. Simon says future designs will be more fully customizable.

Simon printed the pieces on his pair of roughly $1,200 FlashForge Creator 3D printers, using ABS plastic. Printing took 14 hours. Then Simon put it together and waited for Delgado's return.

Sliding it onto his arm, Delgado found the shiny black plastic and wire 3D-printed hand a near perfect fit. Simon did a few on-the spot adjustments, then, “He told me, ‘Go ahead, take it for a week,'" recalls Delgado.

Immediately Delgado noticed how light the 3D-printed hand is compared to the myoelectric model, and how easy it is to work. “When I first put it on [I thought], ‘Wow, I can bend all five fingers,’” says Delgado, who works the hand by bending his wrist. A bend forward closes the hand; unbending opens it up.

For the next few weeks, Delgado wore the 3D-printed hand at home and at work in the warehouse where he move boxes on and off skids (or pallets). The hand, which can support between 20 and 30 pounds seems well-suited to the task. Delgado says the hand makes it much easier to grip boxes, partly because all the fingers curl in, much like a real hand, and because the fingers have rubberized tips.

Delgado eventually returned to Simon to compare his myoelectric hand, which he still wears occasionally when he needs a vice-like grip, and the 3D-printed hand. They made the video above.

Along with the functional differences, there’s the obvious price comparison. Delgado’s myoelectric hand cost roughly $42,000. Simon’s 3D-printed hand cost $50 for material (labor and design are not factored in). Delgado asked Simon what he owed him for the hand. “He said, ‘It’s free.’"

Before they parted ways, Simon gave Delgado some additional materials so he could replace, say, worn rubber pads or even repair the hand if necessary. For Simon, that’s one of the long-term goals, to not just enable people, but “allow them to do it for themselves.” He envisions a time when kids will print and build their own prosthetic hands.

That kind of market disruption — mere dollars instead of tens of thousands of dollars for life-altering technology — is unlikely to fly under the radar, especially by the healthcare industry. Delgado has not talked to his doctors about the 3D-printed hand, and Simon has never spoken to any of the companies that make myoelectric products about his projects. “That hammer hasn’t come down yet, but it’s certainly going to get their attention,” says Simon.

As for Delgado, he continues to wear and use Simon’s 3D-printed hand and says it’s cooler than the hard-to-clean, fake flesh-covered myoelectric one. The 3D-printed hand “gets noticed a lot, especially by kids.” Everyone who sees the articulated, black-plastic hand, including his brothers and sisters, like it.

 


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