Are 3D-printed prostheses still available in stores?
Affordable prostheses from the 3D printer
Fingers made of colored plastic that can grip - from the 3D printer. The artificial hand is rudimentary, but the idea is revolutionary. Researchers around the world aim to develop hand prostheses that are accessible and affordable for everyone. For people without social security, who cannot afford high-tech prostheses, that would be an enormous help. But the prototypes are not yet ready for mass production. If you are unlucky enough to lose a hand but live in the area of Omaha, you can get an artificial hand directly from Jorge Zuniga. Made of plastic links and cords. The links come from the 3D printer. Zuniga's mission: individually adapted, inexpensive prostheses for people who otherwise couldn't afford them. “But it's too early to be able to help the masses,” he says.
Zuniga heads the "Cyborg Beast" project at Creighton University in Omaha (Nebraska, USA). “The research is still very early,” he says. The simplest model works purely mechanically - with the muscles of the wearer. Cords, which are moved by the muscles, run through the screwed links of the plastic hand. The fingers then contract or stretch.
These prostheses only allow a gripping movement - similar to a pair of pliers. "Better that than nothing," says Boris Bertram, head of the arm prosthetics department at Heidelberg University Hospital. "Functionally, these hands are very good - even if it does not correspond to what is state-of-the-art in Germany, for example." Bertram's modern prostheses cost at least 2,000 euros for an immovable variant - and up to 75,000 euros for a highly functional partial hand with a silicone shaft .
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