Tag Archives: prosthetics

How does a $50 3D-printed hand match up to $42G prosthetic?

How does a $50 3D-printed hand match up to $42G prosthetic?

Published April 23, 2014·

Jose Delgado, Jr., 53, was born without most of his left hand and has been using prosthetic devices for decades. His current device, a myoelectric prosthesis, is valued at around $42,000.

Due to the high cost of prosthetics, groups like e-NABLE, comprised of a global community of volunteers, have been formed with the goal of providing free 3D-printed devices and parts for people in need.

Jeremy Simon, an e-NABLE volunteer and founder of 3D Universe, had an idea: make a 3D-printed mechanical hand using $50 worth of materials and see how it compares to the $42,000 prosthetic. The results were shocking.

“Certainly we’re not making an apples to apples comparison — these are entirely different kinds of devices — but the comparison I was trying to draw with Jose was strictly in terms of day-to-day functionality what’s more useful,” Simon told FoxNews.com. “It turned out [the 3D-printed] one was.”

Delgado Jr., who tested the device, told Simon the grip of the 3D-printed hand made it more functional in many cases than the more expensive prosthetic.

“It’s useful for carrying boxes,” Delgado Jr. said. “These are more grip and won’t let go of much.”

Simon found the design for the 3D-printed via e-NABLE.

“We’re talking about 3D designers, university professors, occupational therapists, medical professionals, all sorts of people are in this community and they all give completely freely of their time and efforts,” Simon said.

Simon hopes the 3D printing movement will continue to grow, and hopes philanthropic efforts like those of e-NABLE will thrive.

“As long as there’s still people willing to do this kind of work, the technology is going to continue to get more accessible and more affordable,” Simon said.

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Human Ear Made by 3D Printer

3D-printed ear created in lab

By Tanya Lewis

Published February 21, 2013


  • 3d-printed-ear1

    Mechanical engineer Larry Bonassar holds a fabricated ear printed with a 3D printer in his lab at Cornell University’s Weill Hall. (Lindsay France/Cornell University Photography)

  • 3d-printed-ear2.jpg

    A 3D printer fabricating an ear. (Lindsay France/Cornell University Photography)

With 3D printing, it seems the things you can make are limited only by your imagination. The latest innovation: a 3D-printed artificial ear. 

Ear looks and functions like a normal human ear

Created by squirting a gel made of living cow ear cells and collagen into an injection mold

Current replacement ears often made from a patient’s harvested rib — a difficult and painful process


The ear, which looks and functions like a normal human ear, was created by squirting living cells into an injection mold. Over the course of three months, each ear grew cartilage in the shape of its mold. These ersatz ears could replace the ears of children with congenital deformities, researchers report online today (Feb. 20) in the journal PLOS ONE.

“A bioengineered ear replacement like this would also help individuals who have lost part or all of their external ear in an accident or from cancer,” co-lead author Jason Spector, a plastic surgeon at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City, said in a statement. If the ears prove safe and successful, it could be possible to implant one in a human in as few as three years, Spector said.

Children with a deformity called microtia have an intact inner ear but an external ear that fails to develop fully, causing hearing loss. The prevalence ranges from slightly fewer than one to as many as four babies per 10,000 births, depending on the country. [The 9 Most Bizarre Medical Conditions]

The artificial ears were made by producing a digital 3D image of a child’s intact ear and feeding that into a 3D printer to produce an ear-shaped mold. Then the scientists injected a gel made of living cow ear cells and collagen (a substance used to make gelatin) into the mold, and out popped an ear.

The whole process took less than two days: half a day to design the mold, a day to print it, half an hour to inject the gel, and 15 minutes to allow it to set.

Then the researchers implanted the fabricated ears on the backs of rats, where the ears grew for one to three months. Creepy as it sounds, it isn’t the first time scientists have grown ears on rodents, as a model for naturally growing ears.

In medicine, current replacement ears are made from a Styrofoam-like material or by an Eve-like genesis out of a patient’s harvested rib. The latter is difficult and painful, and rarely produces an ear that works well or looks natural.

The advantage of 3D-printed replacement ears is that they could be made-to-order, using molds from the patient’s normal ear (if they have one) or from one of a person of similar size. The researchers are now working on growing human ear cartilage cells in the lab, which would reduce the chances of tissue rejection.

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/science/2013/02/21/3d-printed-ear-created-in-lab/?intcmp=features#ixzz2LbJH8CJ2

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