Handie aims to solve one of the biggest problems faced by those who could benefit from a bionic hand, price. With bionic hands like the i-Limb Ultra costing anywhere from $38 000 to more than $120 000 (R380 000 – R1.2 mil) and the beBionic3 starting at $25 000 (R250 000), Handie’s $400 (R4000) price tag makes it far more accessible to people who don’t have trust funds or rob banks.
Handie uses a combination of 3D printed plastic parts instead of aluminium frames and a smartphone app that does all of the computational work to keep costs down. 3D printing components mean that users can customise their bionics, print improved designs when they are released and repair the bionics on the cheap. Handie’s design of the finger-flexing mechanism also allows for just one motor per three-segment digit which further reduces costs.
While the Handie creators understand that using 3D printed plastic parts means reduced durability and using a smartphone app instead of a dedicated on board processor means reduced functionality compared to the competition they are aiming for to have “sufficient functions at an affordable price.” Handie has been nominated for the James Dyson Award which honours university level students (or students who have left university recently) who “design something that solves a problem.”
Handie responds to different shapes of objects with passive detection of an object and adjusting the rest of the fingers around whatever shape in being grabbed. Check out the video below to see Handie in action.