Duo unite to pave way for cheaper 3D prosthetic arm

1st February 2019
Mick Elliott

The latest version of a 3D-printed prosthetic arm was unveiled at the recent Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas by Arrow Electronics and customer Unlimited Tomorrow. The prosthetic is designed to be cheaper and more accessible for children, who require new devices as they grow.

While the average prosthetic costs anywhere from $30,000 to $80,000, Unlimited Tomorrow is aiming to reduce the cost to $5,000 using 3D scanning and 3D printing techniques. The arm is built with advanced technology that senses and retains the intelligence of muscle movements, essentially getting smarter the longer it’s worn.

This technology can be ejected and inserted in a newly printed arm, allowing the prosthetic to scale and grow alongside the user. 

To make its wireless-charging robotic prosthetics fit perfectly, the opposing limb is scanned to construct a mirror image and better estimate the missing limb. The company uses 3D printers to match skin tones as well as details like freckles.

The arms include magnetic fingernails that can be painted as well as offer haptic feedback to give users a sense of touch. 

Arrow serves as Unlimited Tomorrow’s exclusive electronics component supplier and is funding the donation of 15 prosthetics to support the company’s 100 Tomorrows Campaign to manufacture and distribute 100 free robotic prosthetics for those in need.

Unlimited Tomorrow is also part of Arrow’s Certification Program, which provides the start-up with an expert who guides the design to production and organises resources as needed. Arrow’s input has informed prototype and board development as well as component selection.

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