This past Sunday afternoon The Robots Are Coming gave a presentation on 3D printing at an event for Aussie Hands at Lazy Moe's restaurant in Maribyrnong. Aussie Hands is a hand difference advocacy group that represents people who have a hand anomaly (or hand difference), whether it be congenital or acquired. The point of our presentation was to demonstrate a 3D printed device called Robohand. Robohand is a prosthetic attachment that is able to grasp. It is activated by the bending of the wrist, and so is useful for people without fingers on their hand. The device is designed to attach to the person's forearm and hand, and the fingers of the device are moved by a set of cables that are put into tension when the wrist is bent. It is a quite simple but effective mechanism that requires no electronics and no motors. Robohand was developed using 3D printers and is designed to be 3D printed. Because of this it is able to be made available to anyone who needs it. All you need is access to a 3D printer, plus a bit of time and attention. The people who designed it actually used 3D printers to collaborate on the design, as one lived in New York and the other in South Africa. They both printed out the designs as they were created so that they could see whether they worked well or not, and iterated the shape of the device that way.
Scott Phillips is a lawyer, designer and technologist, fascinated by the potential and the promise of 3D printing.