Even though the market for upper-limb prosthetics for children is filled with choices and solutions (such as the OpenBionics hero arm, or the Cyborg beast open source hand), they are often unsuitable for applications in low and middle income countries, and often too expensive — the low cost solutions currently in the market are priced at around $4,000, which is prohibitive even for a lot of people living in high income countries. Besides that, children that need prosthetics quickly outgrow them and might need a replacement every two years or so.

The best solution for low cost upper-limb prosthetics currently is body-powered prosthetics, usually as a shoulder harness that connects via cabling to the hand. The cabling converts a shoulder actuation into opening and closing of the hand. Although cable-driven body-powered prosthetics are affordable, reliable and easy to repair, they are difficult to be operated by children (especially children with limb loss), as they have lower muscular strength in general.

Proposed solution

Our proposed solution is to design a novel body-powered prosthetic, which relies not on cables or shoulder actuation, but instead on harnessing the expired airflow from the user to power a small Tesla turbine in the hand. This turbine, in turn, will actuate the terminal device.

This project is still under development. More details will be added once it is finished.