This is not the first time we have seen anything looking like this, the first time was when Vulcan of Star Trek raised his hand in the renowned Vulcan salute. The Spock hand similar to that of Vulcan in matters of shape and design, allows a young amputee to fulfill his dream of playing basketball. The 3D printed prosthesis allows the boy to shoot baskets and dribble with ease once again.
The purpose of this prosthetic design is primarily only to play basketball, hence the prosthetic contains a thumb and two sets of two fingers clinched together instead of the regular five fingers. This gives the prosthetic the Vulcan touch, this allows the user to handle a basketball better as it is designed to fit around a basketball. The fingertips are covers in rubber, this provides a better grip and allows the player to introduce the right back spin in their shots.
This prosthetic is the result of the effort of the members at the UCLA 3D4E Chapter (3D for Everyone), a team dedicated to 3D printing and prototyping. 3D4E started working on the project late last year along with the help of UCLA Women’s Basketball team. The main goal of this team was to provide hope for the children with hand deformities and give them a chance to play basketball. Logan, an 11 year old boy with hand deformities was noticed by the team eventually. Logan desired to play basketball but was unable to do so, with the traditional prosthesis. So the team started designing a specific prosthesis for the boy.
All the pieces of the Spock-hand are 3D printed using the A Zeus All in One (3D Printer) developed by AIO Robotics, the company that also sponsors 3D4E. According to them, another group of 3D tinkerers that hold a history of designing and donating 3D printed prosthesis for amputees, the Future Team was E-enabled by 3D4E during design. 3D-printed prostheses are way more economical as compared to their custom-built counterparts. According to 3D4E, the parts for one Spock-hand cost hardly $20.
The design further introduces springs which help the Spock-Hand mimic the whipping motion of the wrist that is required to shoot basketballs and also assist the user in dribbling abilities.
A “Spock” hand prototype was completed by the team and Logan was invited to the UCLA Campus to test the prototype. Logan succeeded in making 17 baskets, after a slow start.