At a glance 2 min

A 3D-printed bionic hand

Open Bionics, an English company, has developed a bionic hand called the Hero Arm.
A 3D-printed bionic hand
A 3D-printed bionic hand

Manufactured using 3D printing technology, it offers several advantages: it is extremely lightweight, it is customisable and it is marketed at an affordable price.

Lightweight and strong materials

Bio-electronic prostheses have been around for a few years now and the principle behind them is not revolutionary. Sensors placed on the stump transform muscular contractions into commands with various grip modes. The real innovation in the Hero Arm is its manufacturing method, which opens up new perspectives for the future. The 416 3D-printed parts that make up the arm and hand are laser-sintered from nylon 12, which is as lightweight as it is strong. Weighing in at 346 g for the largest model, the "Hero arm" has the lightest bionic hand in the world. The complete arm, including the integrated battery, weighs less than 1 kg, which is 30-40% less than a mechanical prosthesis. Despite its light weight, it can lift up to 8 kg. This featherweight prosthesis can be worn from the age of 8 by children who find it difficult to carry a heavy prosthesis.

Disability becomes a design object


Another advantage of 3D scanning and printing is that they make it possible to offer fully personalised bionic hands: both adjustable and breathable, they are easy to put on and take off. Each Hero Arm is custom-built for the wearer and can be personalised with interchangeable prosthetic covers, inspired by the Disney, Marvel or Pixar characters that children can wear proudly! It is no coincidence that the English company’s motto is "Turning disabilities into superpowers".

3D-printed and affordable

A high-tech medical device, both aesthetic and fun, the Hero Arm remains very affordable thanks once again to 3D scanning and printing technologies which considerably reduce the price of these generally very expensive devices. Printed and assembled in some 40 hours, the English company's bionic hand is marketed at a price three times lower than that of its competitors.

It is also the only 3D-printed bionic upper limb prosthesis medically certified in Europe and the United States.

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