Optimization of Prosthetic Hand Manufacturing for Developing Countries

Michael King, Brienna Philliips, Marc Shively, Venkatesh Raman, Aaron Fleishman,  Sarah Ritter, and Khanjan Mehta

IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference

King, M., Philliips, B., Shively, M., Raman, V., Fleishman, A., Ritter, S., Mehta, K., “Optimization of Prosthetic Hand Manufacturing for Developing Countries,” IEEE Global Humanitarian Technology Conference, Seattle, WA, Oct 2015


3D printing is a manufacturing method that holds much promise for customized prosthetic devices, particularly in developing countries. There are many open-source prosthetic hands designed specifically for the additive manufacturing process. However, the excessive time (i.e., 32???53 hours) required for printing and assembly hinders scale up. This article analyzes 3D printing and injection molding strategies to determine the optimal manufacturing method that balances manufacturing time and cost. While injection molding is less suited to individualization of prosthetic hands due to high upfront costs and long development times associated with the creation of each new mold, production time and cost significantly decrease thereafter. After analyzing manufacturing costs and times as well as anthropometric data, a hybridized process was selected in which the palm would be 3D printed and other parts injection molded. For the injection molded components, a set of three standard sizes was selected to fit the majority of the population by analyzing anthropometric data from both the U.S. military and general populations.


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