Prothetics tend to be expensive, and what you pay for in some circumstances is the time and energy of very clever people. But what if some generous soul open sourced their prosthetic design so others could work on improving their efforts? And what if you could make one yourself?
A Japanese company called Exiii has created a prosthetic arm called Hackberry. While the name suggests something you do to jailbreak a Canadian smartphone, it is in fact the designs for a robot arm that can be made using a 3D printer.
The bionic limb’s blueprints and source code have been made available for others to look at and improve upon. This also means that if anyone makes improvements to the design, these have to be given back to the community for free.
Exii hopes that with plans freely available, designers and prosthetic limb users will take the designs to heart and spur further innovation.
The arm is smartphone controlled, and powered by the same type of batteries as you'd find in a camera - a whole range of such batteries is supported, in fact. The hand portion of it sports a flexible wrist and fingers, which means it can pick up anything from a ball to a bottle of nail varnish, and leaf through the pages of a book (see video below).
Exiii says the bill for printing a Hackberry out and making it operational comes to around $300. Cool though it is, we've gotta say, the one in this video doesn't look quite as amazing as the renders…