Russian finger prostheses created using 3D printing

    In Russia, there is a very acute problem - the lack of functional prostheses of the fingers. Existing available solutions are non-functional and are purely cosmetic in nature. But almost a year ago, the team of (specialists in the field of industrial 3D printing) was inspired by the idea of ​​creating a functional children's prosthesis. WEAS Robotics engineers (specialists in the field of robotics) soon joined the project , and serious work began.

    Under the cut, the story of how this prosthesis is developed. Here is a text written in the first person directly by members of the project team.

    First patient

    Our first patient is Alexander, a resident of the city of Yaroslavl. As a result of the accident, he lost fingers on both hands, but the wrist joints retained full functionality.

    You can read a detailed report on how this prosthesis was created in the article Brush prosthesis using 3D printing: our path from idea to implementation . It was difficult, but interesting, and not everything worked out the first time, his prosthesis still needs to be improved.

    Girl Oksana The

    second patient is a little girl Oksana. The prosthesis version for her was based on a model completely created by the designers and designers of the project.
    It is worth noting that the fitting revealed design flaws, but also showed which of the solutions were successful. Now Oksana is already mastering the second, improved modification of the prosthesis.
    And here is a video with the installation of our third prosthesis to a ten-year-old Daniil from Saratov.

    Where it all came from.

    This video inspired the project team to create a prosthesis. South African cabinetmaker Richard Van As has developed a mechanical prosthesis with functioning fingers that can be printed on a 3D printer. Van As made prostheses for several children for free already.
    This topic very interested them, I wanted to do something good and useful. The guys began to look for information about such practices in Russia and, unfortunately, did not find anything. Perhaps we just did not manage to find anything, or perhaps nobody really does this with us.

    Denture design and installation technology

    Dentures are made using 3D printing, working on industrial 3D printers. Such printers provide high-precision printing, which guarantees high product quality. Another of the main advantages of 3D printing is that you can make a completely individual product in size, shape and design, and makes it indispensable in prosthetics.

    The prosthesis works (grabbing is performed) due to the bend of the wrist joint. It compensates the child for the lack of fingers and allows you to lead a more fulfilling life.

    The manufacture and installation of the prosthesis is as follows:

    1. First, you need to take the dimensions of the child’s hands, then finalize the model and send it to print.
    2. Details of the prosthesis are printed on a 3D printer using SLS technology from biologically neutral plastic - polyamide (PA2200)
    3. Next, the prosthesis is assembled on a special thermoplastic, which softens at a temperature of 80 degrees, is cooled and forms the prosthesis frame directly on the arm.
    4. After assembly, it remains only to adjust the tension of the traction cables and you can begin to master the prosthesis, which, of course, takes time.

    The entire process of installing the prosthesis (from model preparation to the start of training) takes 5-6 days.
    Separately, it is worth noting one feature of working on a project at the current stage. The construction and design of the prosthesis is developed remotely by various team members. In this regard, we have been looking for opportunities for joint project management in the cloud and after meeting with Autodesk representatives, they proposed a solution. We have entered into a partnership agreement with the company on the CleanTech program, and we have been granted several product design suite software licenses. The main advantage of working with Autodesk for us is the very convenient remote work of all team members who use various software solutions (Inventor, 3ds Max, AutoCAD, etc.). Integration is carried out using Autodesk Vault, which significantly reduces the time for information exchange within the team.

    Project support

    An important task for the successful implementation of the project is the search for serious partners both in Russia and abroad. At the moment, the partners of the company are: Institute of prosthetics them. G.A. Albrechta (St. Petersburg), Ingria business incubator (St. Petersburg), Design Agency Organica (Moscow, British Higher School of Design), ImpactHub, a network of international centers for social innovation.

    Current challenges and a look ahead

    As noted above, we still have some design flaws. Here are the main tasks to be solved:

    1. Development of a new mechanism for returning the brush to its standard position after bending.
    2. Search for the optimal thumb position for the most comfortable and functional grip.
    3. It is necessary to make more convenient fastenings and adjustment of the tension of the cables.

    Next, 5-6 prostheses for testing will be printed (each of these prostheses will be installed for an individual patient), according to the results of which a pre-market sample will be created for certification (the main requirement is that the prosthesis must complete 1 million cycles).

    We also started to develop an electromechanical prosthesis and have already made the first prototype. Now the collectability of the entire electromechanical circuit and the first tests in conjunction with myo-sensors are being checked.

    In general, the project development plan for the coming year is as follows:

    1. Finalization of the design of the mechanical prosthesis of the fingers.
    2. Finalization of the electromechanical prosthesis.
    3. Certification and launch of mechanical finger prostheses on the market.
    4. Certification and market launch of an electromechanical prosthesis.
    5. Development of a prototype of the brachial exoskeleton for people with arthrogryposis disease and demonstration of the prototype at an international conference in Moscow.

    We are open for cooperation

    We will be glad to any tips, suggestions, information, necessary contacts, as well as the dissemination of this idea and reposts. Together, we managed to make three samples. A path has been laid to the future, where many children and adults can get a similar prosthesis at affordable prices, compared to what is now. Like-minded people, we urge you to dialogue and interaction. Leave your comments on the post, write messages to the mail We will be glad to everyone who responded!

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