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The Role of the OpenBionics Project in a World of Overprized Prosthetic Devices

A project log for OpenBionics Affordable Prosthetic Hands

Affordable, light-weight, anthropomorphic prosthetic hands, using a novel selectively-lockable differential mechanism.

OpenBionics 10/26/2015 at 03:540 Comments

To put the OpenBionics project into perspective, we present the current status of the Prosthetics Market and compare indicative commercially available solutions with the OpenBionics prosthetic hands in terms of cost.

The current status of the Prosthetic Hands Market

According to a study of 2010 by McGimpsey and Bradford [1], featured in the website of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (www.nist.gov) of the United States, the state of the market of the hand prosthetics can be summarized as follows:

A simple online search supports the aforementioned observations. According to Wikipedia, the cost of the Otto Bock Michelangelo Hand exceeded $70000 in 2013 [3], while recent press results report that the prosthetic hands of Bebionic and Touch Bionics exceed the cost of $100000 (costs for fitting, training and programming) [4-5].

At the same time according to user studies [6], amputees express their disappointment for the increased weight of existing solutions and the difficulties they face with repairs, while in fear of damaging their device, they choose to use simple hooks for their every day life tasks. Another interesting finding of the same study is that the prosthesis acceptance[2] significantly increases (about 8 times) when the amputees are involved in the selection / preparation of the prosthesis (e.g., replication of an open-source design). These results led us to the conclusion that what amputees really need is a highly functional, personalized, affordable and lightweight prosthesis that can be easily and affordably developed, maintained and repaired.

The OpenBionics Prosthetic Hands: Affordable Dexterity

Aiming at addressing the aforementioned needs of amputees, a significant amount of effort at the design stage was devoted to selecting materials and tools that can be easily and affordably found in hardware stores around the world. In this section, we present detailed indicative costs for all materials required for the assembly of our prosthetic hand, along with total[3] costs for a few different hand setups.

Prosthetic hand actuated with surface EMG electrodes.

Materials

Price ($)

Link

ABS filament 3mm (1kg)

24.95

https://www.lulzbot.com/products/hips-3mm-filament-1kg-reel-esun

Dyneema fishing line 0.4mm

9.98

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Super-Strong-PE-Dyneema-Spectra-Extreme-Braid-Fishing-Line-300M-50LB-0-4mm-Green-/231522434670?hash=item35e7cffe6e:m:mS6JDkM3QDWhsCaMIFI_EGA

Nylon Fishing line 0.4mm

2.65

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00MUBWYL0?keywords=nylon fishing line 0.4&qid=1445805110&ref_=sr_1_6&sr=8-6

Fasteners

5

can be found as packages of 100 pieces on-line, but in the local market can be found in any quantity we desire

Pulleys

10.85

http://www.ebay.com/itm/20-PCS-3x12x4mm-1-2mm-Deep-V-Groove-Sealed-Guide-Pulley-Rail-Ball-Bearing-623VV-/171383515745

Sponge like tape

5.25

http://www.amazon.com/Frost-King-R338H-Sponge-16-Inch/dp/B000BQWWF4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1445803937&sr=8-1&keywords=sponge+tape+3/8+3/16

Self-Adhesive tape 3M

12.51

http://www.amazon.com/Scotch-23-Electrical-Width-Length/dp/B000V4P58M/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1445804020&sr=8-1&keywords=rubber+tape+scotch+23

Antislip tape 3M

14.73

http://www.vikingtapes.co.uk/p-1713-safety-grip-self-adhesive-tape-25mm-x-183m.aspx#.Vi085bfhDIV

Herkulex DRS-201

132.05

http://www.dfrobot.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=964#.Vi075rfhDIU

Total cost

217.97

It is evident that the majority of the cost corresponds to the servo motor. Cheaper motors can also be used without compromising the efficiency of the proposed design. This observation led us to explore also alternative solutions for actuation. We focused on providing a fully motor-less system.

In particular, we have already developed a design that makes use of a custom-made body-powered, tendon driven actuation/transmission system (that can be built with ABS filament), drastically reducing the total cost of the system.

Body-Powered prosthetic hand

Materials

Price ($)

Link

ABS filament 3mm (1kg)

24.95

https://www.lulzbot.com/products/hips-3mm-filament-1kg-reel-esun

Dyneema fishing line 0.4mm

9.98

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Super-Strong-PE-Dyneema-Spectra-Extreme-Braid-Fishing-Line-300M-50LB-0-4mm-Green-/231522434670?hash=item35e7cffe6e:m:mS6JDkM3QDWhsCaMIFI_EGA

Nylon Fishing line 0.4mm

2.65

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00MUBWYL0?keywords=nylon fishing line 0.4&qid=1445805110&ref_=sr_1_6&sr=8-6

Fasteners

5

can be found as packages of 100 pieces on-line, but in the local market can be found in any quantity we desire

Pulleys

10.85

http://www.ebay.com/itm/20-PCS-3x12x4mm-1-2mm-Deep-V-Groove-Sealed-Guide-Pulley-Rail-Ball-Bearing-623VV-/171383515745

Sponge like tape

5.25

http://www.amazon.com/Frost-King-R338H-Sponge-16-Inch/dp/B000BQWWF4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1445803937&sr=8-1&keywords=sponge+tape+3/8+3/16

Self-Adhesive tape 3M

12.51

http://www.amazon.com/Scotch-23-Electrical-Width-Length/dp/B000V4P58M/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1445804020&sr=8-1&keywords=rubber+tape+scotch+23

Anti-Slip tape 3M

14.73

http://www.vikingtapes.co.uk/p-1713-safety-grip-self-adhesive-tape-25mm-x-183m.aspx#.Vi085bfhDIV

Total cost

85.92

Body-Powered Actuation Mechanism

Materials

Price ($)

Link

Velcro

7.47

http://www.homedepot.com/p/VELCRO-brand-5-ft-x-3-4-in-Sticky-Back-Tape-90086/202261917

Wooden Dowel

6.08

http://www.homedepot.com/p/Waddell-3-4-in-x-72-in-Hardwood-Round-Dowel-6440U/204397063

Arm Sleeve

11.08

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008EQ1KJW?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00

Total cost

24.63

References

[1] McGimpsey, G., & Bradford, T. (2010). Limb prosthetics services and devices. Worcester, MA: Bioengineering Institute Center for Neuroprosthetics, Worcester Polytechnic Institution. Retrieved from http://www.glb.nist.gov/tip/wp/pswp/upload/239_limb_prosthetics_servic es_devices.pdf

[2] Blough DK, Hubbard S, McFarland LV, Smith DG, Gambel JM, Reiber GE. Prosthetic cost projections for servicemembers with major limb loss from Vietnam and OIF/OEF. J Rehabil Res Dev. 2010;47:387–402. doi: 10.1682/JRRD.2009.04.0037.

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michelangelo_Hand

[4] http://www.cnn.com/2013/02/01/tech/bionic-hand-ilimb-prosthetic/

[5] http://www.wwltv.com/story/news/health/2015/05/28/girl-finally-gets-her-dream-prosthetic-hand/28130005/

[6] D. Edeer and C. W. Martin, “Upper limb prostheses - a review of the literature with a focus on myoelectric hands,” 2013. [Online]. Available: www.worksafebc.com/evidenc


[1] The aforementioned costs involve technological costs but also customization costs, since each device has to be adapted to the needs of the user.

[2] The prosthesis acceptance corresponds to the average amount of time that an amputee spends using a prosthetic device for everyday life tasks.

[3] It should be noted that the actual total cost is even lower than that reported on the tables (e.g., we don’t need 1Kg ABS filament to build a hand. With this amount we can build at least 3 hands with their harnesses).

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