When we first reported on the relatively cheap 3D-printed robotic hand made by Youbionic back in 2014, we indicated that the device was only a prototype and that the makers were looking for funding to bring it to market. Well, apparently they've gotten the funding, because Youbionic is now taking pre-orders for the device.
Youbionic founder Federico Ciccarese told Gizmag that he hopes to fulfill orders this summer (Northern Hemisphere). He also said that he's used the time since that first prototype to refine the device and test it out both on himself and on people who've lost their hands. The action of the bionic hand is activated through muscular contractions and, Ciccarese says, will work with any muscle in the forearm, even though he uses his hand to actuate the robotic fingers in the video below.
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The hand, which is run by the simple open-source Arduino processor, has the ability to perform simple gripping and pointing gestures. Using these gestures, it can pick up objects by applying just enough force to grip the items without crushing them. The pointing gesture can be used for typing or, ostensibly, for working a smartphone.
While Ciccarese's hand isn't advanced as some other models out there, such as the highly-articulated Steeper bebionic for example, it also doesn't come with as high a price tag. While Steeper's artificial hand costs US$11,000, Youbionic's version will cost a much more affordable $1,200.
Ciccarese told Gizmag that right now, the bionic prosthetic will only be available in one size — a man's medium — but he hopes to start custom-making the devices to suit the needs of his clients. It can be pre-ordered via the link below.