YouBionic is Technology You Can Wear: Italian Designer Unveils 3D Printed Bionic Hand

Federico Ciccarese is an Italian technology designer in Milan who wants to lend a big helping hand to amputees around the world – literally.
The 33 year-old has just invented YouBionic, which is a 3D printed bionic hand. While still in the design, research and discovery phase, Ciccarese will be testing amputees with his invention in early 2015.

YouBionic: All the parts of the bionic hand are 3D printed from nylon dust.YouBionic: All the parts of the bionic hand are 3D printed from nylon dust.

And he is eager to get YouBionic on the market as he wants to play his part for humanity.

By day he is a boat designer and at night he spends his time working on his robotic design that is cutting-edge on every level.

“Designing boats is good, why not, but I want to do something important for humanity,” says Ciccarese. “On Twitter, I spoke to a father of a 5 year-old who is missing five fingers. He is waiting for me to finish this so his son can try it.”

All the parts of the bionic hand are 3D printed from nylon dust. So for anyone who owns a 3D printer all they have to do is simply download the design they want online and within hours a bionic hand is made and ready to use.

While bionic prosthetics are commonly expensive - ranging from $20,000.00 to $50,000.00 (USD) - YouBionic will cost only $1500.00 (USD), thanks to modern computer application technology that is accessible and always changing for the better. The hardware and software for the bionic hand, or for other limbs in the future, will be easily updated, the same way we update our smartphones.

YouBionic is Technology You Can Wear.YouBionic is Technology You Can Wear.

“We can manufacture the hand and all of its moving components in a single piece and with a single print,” says Ciccarese.

YouBionic runs on inexpensive open source microcontroller hardware called Arduino, which reads signals from the brain and converts them into movements of the robotic hand.

“There’s electricity in all muscles of our body,” Ciccarese says. “When the brain sends an impulse to the muscle, the sensor reads it and translates it into a number proportional to the contraction and then sends this message to the microcontroller.”

Ciccarese indicates that his invention may also help healthy humans by giving them an extra hand or limb they need, like for astronauts making repairs to the International Space Station.

“I started this device as a prosthetic, but it can have many applications,” says Ciccarese. “I hope I can do something for humanity.”