Tue 19 Mar 2019 1:01PM

Upper Limb Prosthetic Design Handbook For Makers & Hobbyists

JB Jason Bender Public Seen by 76

My name is Jason Bender and I am a Certified Prosthetist from the United States now living and working in Myanmar. I am seeking to between $1,500-1,900 (now $2,400-$3000 see comments) to complete a design handbook/reference targeted hobbyists and makers to hopefully catalyze them in developing new devices and pathways for the limb-loss community. Formal proposal to follow after discussion.

The Global Need
According to the World Health Organization, 9 out of 10 people globally do not have access to the assistive devices they need. With an estimated 4-12 million people living with upper extremity limb-loss and 300,000 new upper-limb amputations occuring every year, it is imperative that we find new innovative pathways of delivering quality and effective prosthetic devices and services to the underserved limb-loss community around the world.

A New Source For Ideas
An emerging source for innovative approaches to prosthetic care is the global hobbyist, maker, or “hacker” community. Disruptions emerging from this cohort include both methods of delivery as well as functional devices--some of which have even been approved and accepted by traditional healthcare systems.

Equipping New Designers
Therefore, the purpose of this handbook is to equip people from more diverse backgrounds to join the work of imagining and creating new prosthetic devices and services. Using theory and principles from over 200 years of prosthetic history, this handbook seeks to provide resources and tools that will help hobbyists, makers, and “lay” designers to not only avoid repeating the mistakes of the past, but be better equipped to provide meaningful contributions to the global limb-loss community.

Beginning with a proper framework for prosthetic care provision and historical background, the handbook will cover various aspects of device design, including: upper limb anatomy and function, useful biomechanics, mechanical hand design, device control methods, and design-for-manufacturing with a focus on 3D-printing.

A brief sample is attached.

Let me know your thoughts. As I mentioned in the Facebook group, while I'd love to do this for free, our existence in Myanmar is dependent on keeping our fledgling small business going. Full support from e-Nable will also allow to keep the work 100% free and available to the entire maker community. Can discuss multiple funding strategies.

Have a look at the sample, especially the intro and TOC and let me know what you think. Good to hash it out a bit before the formal proposal.


Jon Schull Tue 19 Mar 2019 4:03PM

This is very exciting! I urge you to go forward! I hope you will be able to get input from other e-NABLErs with some prosthetic training as well @changliu1. Here are some issues for you consider.

Perhaps it should be a project in wikifactory so we can track and provide input, feedback,, etc. (Personally I think e-NABLE Fund funding should not prevent you from owning the copyright with an appropriate open-source license. I would not consider this a work-for-hire, though as an open-source project we would be able make our own versions etc..)


Jason Bender Wed 20 Mar 2019 12:05AM

I was actually considering this. Developing it as a Wikifactory project would be a great way to stay accountable and solicit input from others. Obviously would need a full funding commit for that but could even break funding up into multiple, benchmark-dependent disbursements to reduce e-nables risk. Wikifactory seems like a logical to keep everything open and accountable.


ebubar Wed 20 Mar 2019 2:25AM

I think this resource will be fantastic. I might suggest getting a input from some eNABLE designers on chapters as they're written as well as from those with formal prosthetic training. I would imagine Peter Binkley, Skip Meetze, Jack Buchanon (and others) who are all responsible for some of eNABLEs strongest designs may create some awesome improvements to their designs based on this work. Have you also considered getting some support for this from something like kickstarter? I personally think its worth more than what you're asking and you may be able to attract donations for such a resource through another crowdfunding platform?


Jason Bender Wed 20 Mar 2019 8:26AM

Thanks Eric. My only challenge w/ kickstarter is it helps if the end poduct is not free, which I'm hoping to avoid. Unless I could get some champions to drum up support from eNablers.

You're right about getting input from eNablers. Really need help particularly on the 3d printing section--will probably reach out to many of the people you mentioned.


Yoav Medan Wed 20 Mar 2019 11:37AM

I am in favor of having an open-ended handbook where e-nablers can add the accumulating wisdom as edited chapters, reviewed by peer e-nablers.


Bob Rieger Wed 20 Mar 2019 12:38PM

I share the positive sentiment of Jon andEric and I support this funding and need. I personally welcome more professional information about prosthetics, and I'm sure most other volunteers will, also. I am also intrigued about Yoav's suggestion of an open-ended handbook, although I would not want to see the handbook's professional presentations distorted in any way by opinion or anecdotal evidence that is not properly vetted.


Jason Bender Wed 20 Mar 2019 12:56PM

Agreed. I think an eNable Wikipedia of sorts sounds enticing, but policing to keep level of evidence at an acceptable standard is not a trivial task. "I tried this and it didnt have any issues" is not the same as an industry-standard best practice.

Maybe there is a place for both? When I was developing the Hintha Hand half the group didnt even known castration rings were having durability issues. Having a common place for these kinds of things would be nice.


Bob Rieger Wed 20 Mar 2019 1:41PM

Absolutely, Jason. I believe professional guidance is what is needed at this point, not a compendium of everyone's opinions. Having said that, I do agree there is a place for both. Perhaps a section on Wikifactory for the sharing of ideas, practices and experiences?


ebubar Wed 20 Mar 2019 12:55PM

Another thought may be to include STL designs for some of the mechanisms that you'll likely be describing. For example, a mechanical four-bar-linkage STL as you describe for the bebionic finger could be used as an excellent educational tool. This comes from imagining how I may use something like this in training my students in designing prosthetics. It may be a good opportunity for opening educational opportunities and/or design challenges for the community to create representations of the concepts from the manual. Makers gonna make after all. :)


Jason Bender Wed 20 Mar 2019 1:19PM

I'm really glad you brought this up. As fun as the old-school handbook vibe is, can't help but feel this maybe should be a web-based (self-hosted page?) resource with gifs, videos, and STL links. Would make some concepts WAY easier to grasp--and thats the ultimate goal.

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