+one Prosthetic Fingers

We designed a functional yet life-like prosthetic finger that is able to fit and support users in the handling of simple daily tasks. Traditional passive cosmetic prosthetic fingers are not functional and they get in the way when users are handling their daily tasks, sticking out awkwardly due to its lack of articulation. With the incorporation of a simple mechanism, the new prosthesis is able to lock in specific positions and support the user in their daily tasks. As an entire commercial (production) process, this project seeks to re-invent the relatively stagnant field of ‘passive cosmetic prostheses’ through the use of 3D technology, turning a craft process into a digital process that is fit for mass customization. The efficiency of the laborious traditional making process is improved, making it more economical and sustainable through the reduction of material wastage and the digitalisation of information, ultimately lowering costs to make it affordable for the masses. Every year there are 8,000 recorded cases of finger amputees, and the majority of them are from low income jobs that require them to operate heavy machineries (e.g. construction, manufacturing sectors). From our research, there is an apparent disconnect between this statistic and the current range of prosthesis available in the market today; that they are clearly too expensive for many of such users to afford them. Furthermore the average recuperation time for an amputee varies from 3 to 6 months, this results in almost 1 million working days lost per annum, which translates to huge monetary losses for their companies. We observed that the current types of prosthesis are at opposite ends of the spectrum, either purely cosmetic and static, or functional but unsightly. This is where we saw an opportunity to bridge the gap between the two extremes and design a prosthetic finger that is functional, life-like and yet still affordable for the masses through the use of 3D technology. Through several interviews and observations with users, we realised what users need is ‘cosmetic’ functionality instead of ‘operational’ functionality as emotionally, the loss of a finger still affects them when the occasional awkward situation arises. As such, the project began with the incorporation of a mechanism into a prosthetic finger. We researched and experimented with several mechanical locking joints that could cater to such a ‘cosmetic’ function, allowing users to retract their prosthetic finger and avoid such situations, while also providing assurance and support to the user when handling small objects. Slowly as we expanded our field of interest into the entire making process of the prosthesis, we utilized 3D technology to simplify the traditional process of making, trying to reducing costs wherever possible so that the bulk of finger amputees; which are lower income users, can afford a prosthetic finger to assist them in their daily lives.




Identifying similar yet simple mechanism articulation that can lock into position, e.g. pen locking.
We created several iterations of cast finger prosthesis with moulded mechanism for user testing.
We created three major locking positions for extended, rest & folded angle.

Our project being published on local newspaper "The New Paper" Singapore on 3rd June 2013.
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