The Coming Up Short Handed project hopes to develop open source prosthetics, enabling access for those who can't afford commercial products.
We recently covered Japanese researchers’ efforts to help children too young to use a wheelchair with the Magic Carpet device, aiming to provide mobility to a group usually overlooked. Now the Coming Up Short Handed project hopes to develop open source prosthetics, enabling access for those who can’t afford commercial products. US-based Ivan Owen originally developed a working mechanical hand to be used as part of a costume, but when he uploaded a video of the device onto Youtube he was contacted by South African Richard Van As, who saw how the home-made prosthesis could be beneficial to both himself and others with mobility problems. The two formed the current project, which aims to use basic techniques to create low-cost mechanical aids as an alternative to expensive professionally-designed options, as well as provide instructions on how others can build them themselves. The first design is a mechanical finger, demonstrated in the video below: Coming Up Short Handed isn’t the only project of its kind – the Open Prosthetics Wiki is also doing similar work in this field. Both projects could help victims of disease, war or accidents – especially in poorer countries – to regain full use of their body. Spotted by: Murray Orange