The young inventors of exiii have developed a bionic hand that you can create with a 3D printer. They’re part of a new industrial revolution, sparked by the ready availability of new technology and production tools, which has opened up product design and manufacturing to more people than ever.
Genta Kondo has always been fascinated with the hand. As a kid playing basketball, he was captivated by the subtle ways his fingers, palm, and wrist moved to pass and shoot the ball. But after spending his university years researching prosthetic hands, he set aside this pursuit and took a job at Sony in Tokyo, to work on robotics.
It wasn’t until he began working with 3D-printed prototypes that Kondo realized that his interest in the hand could turn into something more. Inspired by the hand models that his friend Hiroshi Yamaura, a mechanical engineer at Panasonic in Osaka, made with a consumer 3D printer, Kondo had an idea. He wanted to create a 3D-printed myoelectric prosthetic hand, a battery-powered artificial limb controlled by the electric signals that are naturally generated by one’s muscles. The two men invited Yamaura’s colleague, Tetsuya Konishi, an industrial designer at Panasonic, to work with them.
The trio developed the prototype of their first electronic prosthetic in their spare time, collaborating across 250 miles. The prototype won international recognition from the James Dyson Awards, and gained the interest and support of Akira Morikawa, who had lost his arm in an accident. Morikawa’s enthusiasm and active role in product development encouraged the three men to quit their corporate jobs and establish exiii as a startup company in mid 2014.
SOURCE: EXIII Prosthetics