Low-cost robot hand wins Dyson prize

A prototype 3D-printed robotic hand that can be made faster and more cheaply than current alternatives is this year’s UK winner of the James Dyson Award. The Bristol-raised creator of the Open Bionics project says he can 3D-scan an amputee and build them a custom-fitted socket and hand in less than two days. It typically takes weeks or months to obtain existing products. Joel Gibbard says he aims to start selling the prosthetics next year. “We have a device at the lower-end of the pricing scale and the upper end of functionality,” he told the BBC. “At the same time it is very lightweight and it can be customised for each person. “The hand is basically a skeleton with a ‘skin’ on top. So, we can do different things to the skin – we can put patterns on it, we can change the styling and design. There’s quite a lot of flexibility there.” The 25-year-old inventor intends to charge customers £2,000 for the device, including the cost of a fitting. Although prosthetic arms fitted with hooks typically can be bought for similar prices, ones with controllable fingers are usually sold for between £20,000 and £60,000.

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