As well as improving quality of life through the use of a prosthetic, Starace hopes that the psychological impact of having a superhero-inspired hand will mitigate the trauma of losing a limb.
Starace has stated his intention to provide the Iron Man hand for free, and outlined plans for a collaboration with e-Nable, a group of advocates for the 3D-printing of prostheses which donates their efforts to children in need.
3D-printed prosthetic hand: How does it work?
In order to wear the glove, the electronic module and casing at the base of the wrist need to be removed, before the individual uses in-built anchors to secure it to his or her wrist and snaps the case shut.
The main function of the glove is its ability to grip objects. The fingers close in a grasping motion when the child tilts their forearm down, and open again when the forearm is lifted back up.
The color-scheme is not the only reference to the popular Iron Man franchise. On the palm of the gauntlet there is a glowing circular light, an imitation of the superhero’s thrusters, as well as a container on the back of the hand for other beneficial gadgets.
“The hand is a container for modern tech: microcontrollers, wireless devices, smart watches, sensors, accelerometers, NFC, RFID and almost anything else,” says Starace.
3D-printed prosthetic hand: Life-like movements
Starace even went the extra mile to make the hand that much more impressive, and faithful to its superhero inspiration.
“When Iron Man makes that classic pose with his hand held out, fingers spread and the thrusters glowing,” says Starace, “if the fingers weren’t spread, it wouldn’t have the same effect. Creating a hand with independent axis for each finger is more difficult, but well worth it for the total effect.”
The hand has other capabilities that were not revealed in the glove’s demo video, including a voice control element which will be shown off at a later date.
Starace said you could “put this on a child today,” and other U.S. children have previously received 3-D printed prosthetics.