Richard Van As and Ivan Owen, co-founders of Pretoria, South Africa-based Robohand, are using robotics to help amputees obtain affordable prosthetics. Van As was inspired to create robotic prothestics after a woodworking accident in 2011 where he lost all his fingers on his right hand.
Their latest creation, Roboleg, is an extension of their earlier works, Robofinger, Roboarm and Robohand. All three are partially made using a 3D printer, with files and assembly instructions free and downloadable from Thingiverse, MakerBot’s design community. The Roboleg will follow suit, and those with access to a Makerbot 3D printer will be able to create their own.
The upcoming product was announced earlier this week on the Facebook page and is still in a prototype phase.
Because it bears weight, the leg needs to be sturdier than the arms and hands, observes CNET. Roboleg accordingly uses metal along with the plastic parts, and pneumatic pumps.
The small firm already has improved the lives of children in war torn Sudan, notes 3DPrint.
“Unlike traditional prosthetic devices offered to patients, which can cost well over $25,000, the 3D-printed Robohand can be printed out on a 3D printer for around $50. Robohand sells the prosthetic fully assembled with medical-grade orthoplastic for $500.”
Continues 3DPrint, “The device allows for important knee and ankle movement, and appears to be relatively light-weight compared to its size. This amazing device is almost certain to follow in the footsteps of the Robohand and transform the accessibility and convenience of prosthetic devices for leg amputees.”