Jose Delgado Jr. is a 55-year old man who was born without the majority of his left hand. Jose had been using a bulky electronic prosthetic that works, but is far from practical. Two of his fingers had to be locked into place, the device would run out of battery fast, and it was heavy. However, with the accessibility and creative output of 3D printers, Jose learned of a 3D printed prosthetic solution that would be cheap, and would allow him to have higher functionality with his left hand than his old prosthetic offered.
This led Jose to get in contact with a man named Jeremy Simon– who happily agreed to create a 3D printed hand for him. The design for the hand is completely open source and can be found for free at thingiverse.com, a hub for sharing creations that can be printed with 3D printers. Since the blueprint for the device is free, the only thing that has to be paid for is the cost of the materials.
To give you a sense of costs, the old prosthetic Jose was using came in at a whopping $42,000 and lacked functionality! His 3D printed hand, conversely, only cost $50.00. The best part is that Jose (and countless others who have printed this hand out for themselves or for a loved one) has reported that the design and function of his 3D printed hand is superior to his old expensive prosthetic. Jose says that his new 3D printed hand gives him the ability to carry twenty pounds, drive his car with greater ease, and carry boxes.
Jorge Zuniga is the man who invented this design– which is most commonly known as the “Cyborg Beast.” Zuniga could have easily sold the Cyborg Beast design and lived off of the money. However, instead he gave it away for free so that the maximum amount of people could reap the benefits from its usage.
These types of developments are becoming more and more common. Thingiverse.com already has hundreds of different prosthetics that are ready to print, and that are available for free. There are even prosthetics for dogs who are missing limbs! People want to help out other people. Even if that person is someone that they may never meet in real life. Jose is a great example of what technology is capable of providing for individuals who are missing extremities! The pure joy he had when talking about his new hand was a clear demonstration of how technology can change lives.
Click here to see a video about it.