Jose Delgado, Jr. Compares His $50 3D-Printed Hand to His $42,000 Myoelectric Prosthesis

April 21, 2014

I recently read a story about a guy named Jose Delgado, Jr., a 53-year old who was born without most of his left hand.  Jose has used multiple types of prosthetic devices over many years, including a myoelectric version that uses the muscle signals in his forearm to trigger closing or opening the fingers. The cost of this myoelectric device was $42,000.  Only half was paid by insurance and the rest by Jose.  The cost makes it an unaffordable option for many in similar situations.

The total cost of materials for a 3D printed Cyborg Beast prosthetic device is about $50.  The Cyborg Beast is a completely mechanical design. There are a series of non-flexible cords running along the underside of each finger, connecting to a “tensioning block” on the top rear of the device (the “gauntlet”). Tension is caused by bending the wrist downward. With the wrist in its natural resting position, the fingers are extended with a natural inward curve. When the wrist is bent 20-30 degrees downward, the non-flexible cords are pulled, causing the fingers and thumb to bend inward. A second series of flexible cords run along the tops of the fingers, causing the fingers to return automatically when tension is released. Video and story........