Children who were either born without a hand or have lost a hand to an accident, may now have a happier life, thanks to Josué Rico and Marte Espejo, alumni and professor, respectively, from the Universidad del Valle de Mexico’s Guadalajara Sur campus, who have created a prosthetic hand.
In some countries, like the United States and Britain, good systems for the development and deployment of prosthetic hands for humans already exist. Rico and Espejo tapped into existing knowledge in the space and created their own designs with a 3-D printer acquired only two months ago by the Center for Research, Innovation and Technological Development (CIDETEC) at UVM.
They made sketches, printed and tested prototypes, and iterated on the design until they were able to create a model that will positively transform the life of a child, in this case, 5 to 7 years old. The prosthesis is made of a rigid plastic called PLA, which is flexible, and connected to the arm using velcro. "It also has joints that simulate the tendons to flex the fingers to open and close the hand," said Rico.
Rico and Espejo are working to replicate the American project, "Robohand," in Guadalajara through several phases. First, they provide the prostheses to boys or girls, because the impact for children is higher than that for adults. "Each prosthesis is unique and fully adapted to the specific individual, though it is somewhat easier to fit on children. This is not to say that we don’t plan to develop prostheses for adults, but that is stage two," said Rico.
Rico and Espjeo estimate that by the end of October they will have their first 100 perfect functional prosthetic hand. "In parallel we are looking for candidates to test the prosthesis to suit their needs. Similarly, we are looking to form a team of specialists from different disciplines such as industrial designers, psychologists, and therapists to support and train the candidates in the use of the prosthesis," they concluded.
This article has been translated into English to be shared on the Laureate International Universities website.