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Study Discusses Open-source 3D-printed Cyborg Hand

Zuniga displays various versions of the Cyborg Beast 3D-printed prosthetic hand.
Photograph courtesy of Jorge Zuniga.

A study published in the July issue of the Journal of Prosthetics and Orthotics identified active range of motion (ROM) and strength changes in children who used the Cyborg Beast, a wrist-driven, 3D-printed transitional prosthetic hand. The prosthesis was developed by Jorge Zuniga, PhD, the study’s primary author, and his research team at Creighton University. As an open-source device, the Cyborg Beast can be printed and assembled by anyone with access to a 3D printer.

Two girls and three boys between three and ten years old, one with a traumatic limb deficiency and four with congenital limb deficiencies, were assessed for anthropometric, active ROM, and strength measurements before being fitted with the prosthesis and after six months of use. According to the authors, there were significant hand × time interactions for the forearm circumference, active ROM for flexion, and extension values. There were no significant hand × time interactions, however, for wrist flexion strength, wrist extension strength, active ROM for ulnar deviation, active ROM for radial deviation, and forearm skinfold values.

The researchers stated that although durability, environment, and lack of printing standards for the manufacturing of 3D-printed prostheses are factors to consider when using these types of devices, the practicality and cost-effectiveness represent a promising new option for clinicians and those patients with upper-limb deficiencies living in developing countries. Thus, the Cyborg Beast is a low-cost solution for those in need of a transitional device to increase ROM and forearm circumference.