An engineer created a mechanical hand that’s also totally cyberpunk. Mechanical engineer Ian Davis has built an extraordinary mechanical prosthetic, which serves as a replacement for the four missing digits on his left hand. The intricate mechanical hand, shown in the videos and pictures below, is expertly machined and will also eventually be electronically controlled. Which means this rapidly evolving prototype is, unquestionably, cyberpunk AF.
The videos of Davis’ mechanical hand prosthetic, which come via Gizmodo, were posted to his eponymous YouTube channel. Davis’ channel outlines the journey he’s been on to build the electromechanical prosthetic hand. That journey began last year after he smashed his hand working in his shop.
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After many weeks of designing and prototyping, I finally have the splay feature pretty well dialed! There were points during this process that I was getting concerned I was chasing a frivolous function, but after using it for half a day so far, I have no doubt that it was completely worth the time and effort.
Davis, who lives and works in Medford, Oregon, was denied a prosthetic hand by his healthcare provider. That was due to the fact that his palm remained intact after surgery. Davis told KDRV News that his healthcare provider informed him after his surgery that his fingers were not “medically necessary.”
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Spent most of the day prototyping a new idea for the wrist and how to get motion so that I can have the fingers mechanically splay. I also found a bunch of space that I can get rid of and make the hand a little bit less wide. I'm going to try to machine the new versions of these parts tomorrow while I'm doing some real work. I'll try to take more pictures as I go.🙂 lmk if you like this format or if you'd like a different way of sharing my work.
The indefatigable engineer, who is also battling cancer, stepped up and decided to take on the task of building the prosthetic himself. Davis told KDRV that he was put in a position where he could “either do without or build [my] own.”
While the videos showcasing Davis’ prosthetic aren’t in-depth build breakdowns like the ones we’ve seen from other YouTuber/makers, they still provide insight into how he’s made the mechanical hand happen. This video, for example, shows how Davis machined the chain guards that protect the neoprene links of the aluminum hand. The video below showcases the graphical user interface that will eventually be deployed to give the hand Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. The latter will allow for the plugging in of various hand tools, such as a grinder.
Looking forward, Davis ultimately wants to team up with a biomedical engineering department at a university in order to build hands like this one for other amputees. “There’s a need and it just needs to be filled,” Davis told KDRV news. He added that he thinks “one of the greatest times will be when I’m able to have my design go on to someone besides me.”
What do you think about Ian Davis’ mechanical prosthetic hand? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Feature image: Ian Davis