Prosthetic finger could be a boon


Whenever I watch Star Wars Episode III, I do wonder just how much strength does Obi Wan Kenobi has whenever he lays the smack down on Anakin Skywalker in their duel on Mustafar, especially when his hand goes up against the bionic arm of Anakin. Perhaps Obi Wan has been taking some sort of supplements that have greatly increased his bone density? Who knows, but what we do know is this – folks who are missing limbs or part of their fingers and toes will definitely love to have a working prosthesis that does not break the bank. Case in point, what you see above is a prosthetic finger which might just usher in a new age of limb replacements that are highly affordable.

Richard Van As, a South African woodworker who lost four fingers while operating a saw, came into contact with Ivan Owen, an American designer based in Washington state who did come up with a basic mechanical hand in the past. Ivan was approached to develop a low cost, open access DIY prosthetic finger design as a decent alternative to current solutions, and both of them collaborated on the project over the Internet, publishing their progress online to boot.

The initial iteration of the prototype system is not much to shout about, but at least it is a decent start. Made up of pieces of an Erector set, hair ties, zip ties, leather scraps, velcro strips, string, moldable wax, and rivets, it is a veritable collection of parts that make you wonder whether a gadget Frankenstein is in the making. Right at its core the prosthetic lies a formed hand mould alongside a simple system of cables, levers and pulleys.

This particular project is strictly not for profit, and the ultimate aim is to develop a finished prosthetic that is an actual, low-cost DIY reality for the many folks out there who need prosthetic digits, and yet cannot afford them due to circumstances in life. We wish the team the very best!


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