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$42,000 Prosthetic Hand Outperformed By $50 3D Printed Hand

timothy posted about 9 months ago | from the chop-off-your-hand-to-check dept.

Medicine 288

An anonymous reader writes "A man named Jose Delgado was so used to using a $42,000 myoelectric prosthetic hand for the last year that he didn't realize that there were other options out there. Although Delgado, born without a left hand, was able to obtain the hand via his insurance, he found that a 3D printed 'Cyborg Beast,' an open source hand which costs just $50 to print, actually was more comfortable and performed better than the device which costs 840 times as much money."

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and also reading machines for the blind (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46802267)

cutting down on the absurb prices for 'prosthetic' devices is great, but someone who is blind has to pay $1000-$2000 for a "Reading Machine" and that's not so great, especially since in the USA this is not covered by Medicare, howoever www.topocr.com has a $5.00 program that does the same job with a $60 scanner or a $95 document camera, I have to say that I'm a happy customer, I wish more people would develop low cost technology that provides an alternative to the big ticket items that "medical" companies charge, mainly to people who can't afford it.

obamacare says "no way" (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46802445)

why should people care about low cost health care items? unless it is certified by the insurance company, you can't have it. if it is, the health insurance company takes care of the cost, and it is free. why bother. i guess one could avoid all that health insurance problems by dealing directly with the doctors, and shopping around. buy $200 wheelchairs from walmart (yes, some walmarts sell wheelchairs). oh, wait. obamacare requires people to buy health insurance by law. there is no escape, muwahahahaha!

Re:obamacare says "no way" (1)

DrLang21 (900992) | about 9 months ago | (#46802645)

One word. Co-pay.

Re:obamacare says "no way" (2)

laird (2705) | about 9 months ago | (#46802679)

Several reasons:
1) Many people don't have insurance, or have insurance that doesn't cover prosthetics. 3D printing prosthetics is a huge enabler for people in the third world, for example. And even in the US, there are plenty of people that the insurance companies don't or won't cover.
2) The ability to make your own, and to customize it to your needs, is very powerful. If you watch the video, the patient was happier with his $50 printed prosthetic than a $40k prosthetic, because it worked better for him. In part this movement is driven by people's desire to make something better than the commercial options.

No escape from the tea party nomenklatura. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46802801)

If there is an article about pastry recipes, the tea party nomenklatura with their Koch-funded scripts will chime in with comments about Obamacare prevents proper baking. There's just no escaping you people. You're like herpes.

Re:No escape from the tea party nomenklatura. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46803245)

So... you have herpes? I avoided them by not sleeping with people who have herpes. PEBKAC

Obamacare exists because... (-1, Flamebait)

eWarz (610883) | about 9 months ago | (#46802829)

Obamacare exists because the poor can't be bothered to pay $90 for a doctors visit. Instead they rack up a $900 bill at the local hospital (because hospitals are required to see you, doctors aren't) and they never pay it. This means that the hospitals must raise their fees for everyone in order to accommodate the losers that don't pay. Obamacare fixes this by requiring that everyone have health insurance. if everyone has health insurance, the majority of the bill gets paid, which should stabilize healthcare costs. This also ensures that a 'union' (health insurance companies) puts downward pressures on the prices sought out by healthcare providers.

Re:Obamacare exists because... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46802899)

I hope you are not implying that the poor are the only ones not paying their hospital bills.

Re:Obamacare exists because... (5, Insightful)

NoKaOi (1415755) | about 9 months ago | (#46802929)

Obamacare exists because the poor can't be bothered to pay $90 for a doctors visit...losers that don't pay

Can't be bothered? If you have a medical issue that requires several $90 office visits, and the choice is between paying that or feeding your family (or possibly buying gas to get to your minimum wage job so you don't lose it), how is that "can't be bothered?" Oh, and then you call them losers. So which is it, they can afford to pay but can't be bothered, or they are losers who would rather sit on the sidewalk than get a job? It seems you only see those two options, which pretty much means you are completely unfamiliar, yet pass judgement on a part of our society that comprises a pretty significant portion of the US population.

Re:Obamacare exists because... (4, Interesting)

Bryan Ischo (893) | about 9 months ago | (#46803173)

It would be more accurate to say that when the service is free, as it more or less is for poor people, then the service is used by those people without consideration for the cost of providing that service.

My wife is a doctor, and has worked in the Bronx and also in low income areas of San Jose. In the Bronx it was not uncommon for people to call an ambulance when they had a cold and wanted to see a doctor to get some cough medicine prescribed, because they didn't have to pay for the ambulance and it was a free ride to a free doctor's visit for a condition that doesn't need an ambulance or a doctor.

In San Jose, she sees tons of drunks and drug users who end up returning to the hospital over and over again because it's the easiest way to milk the system for some attention (I suppose drunks don't get much out of it, but drug users can often badger the system into providing some pills; when presented with a persistent patient with unverifiable claims of pain, after a while the doctors have to prescribe something just to get the person out of the way so that patients with real needs can be seen.

Making everyone pay a nominal amount for every visit is not possible because hospitals cannot refuse anyone, even if they can't pay. But forcing people to get insurance, so that they pay ahead of time, seems like the next best thing.

Also virtually nobody in the USA chooses between a $90 doctor's visit and feeding their family. The choice is usually between a $90 doctor's visit and a $90 cable or cell phone bill.

Re:Obamacare exists because... (3, Informative)

oic0 (1864384) | about 9 months ago | (#46802955)

$90? lol. That IS what your insurance company pays them. A person paying cash however pays 200-300 at the door and is billed for the rest. Usually another 200-300. Last time I visited the doctor without insurance it cost me $500. Most people would only need major medical if doctors weren't a bunch of greedy pricks who charge insurance companies a fair rate and rape anyone who tries to pay in cash. If a doctor were on fire I would ask for his wallet before pissing on him.

Re:Obamacare exists because... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46803037)

Holy Dooley! My doc charges ~AUD$90 for a regular visit, and AUD$120 for a "long" consult, e.g. annual close-up inspection of my skin (yes, I'm pale and prone to skin cancers). If he finds a lump that he wants to remove, it's maybe an extra $100, plus another $90 for follow-up and removing stitches. I get about two-thirds of that back from medicare.

Re:Obamacare exists because... (1)

cheater512 (783349) | about 9 months ago | (#46803129)

Some of us in Australia are even luckier.
I live near a walk in clinic which bulk bills. Never paid them a dime - its all covered by medicare.
I actually don't think they have any cash/eftpos at all.

Re:Obamacare exists because... (2)

ProfBooty (172603) | about 9 months ago | (#46803081)

What did you pay $500 for?

My inlaws are visiting from overseas so no insurance but:

$40 for a check up
$80 for x-rays
$20 for anti-biotics

All in cash.

Later we found out that we could have gotten it all for free via the county health department. I guess it depends on what you are getting treated for.

Re:Obamacare exists because... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46803195)

The problem with Obamacare is that when Nirvana meets Reality, Reality always wins. And, in this case, on average all US citizens will be worse off as a result.

Re:Obamacare exists because... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46803249)

No, the problem is that you'll always hear from the losers more than the winners. My brother in law was finally convinced to buy health insurance on the exchange. Two months later ... he was in a terrible accident that would have bankrupt him had he not had insurance. Win for him, but you won't find him on the evening news.

uhm (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46802919)

what about the copay dickhead?

Sunk Costs (5, Interesting)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | about 9 months ago | (#46802283)

The additional $41,950 is allocated towards sunk costs including

  • - Cosmetic designs of a hand like-prosthetic to prevent adults staring uncomfortably and children exclaiming "cool"!
  • - Insurance/class action insurance for when the prosthetic ends up injuring/irritating one or more users or people, or things, or otherwise perishable or damageable entities the hand interacts with.
  • - Robustness to last through more than, say, 10,000 cycles before snapping into brittle plastic shards.
  • - Salaries and children's college funds for the scientists, designers, and MBAs running the prosthesis companies
  • - Salaries and children's college funds for the academic and medical researchers involved in prosthetic studies, both mechanical, psychological, and sociological

Meanwhile, the 3D prosthetic hand has only the following sunk costs to cover.

  • - ~$10,000 investment in quality 3D printer
  • - The time taken find and to add the most saccharinly kitch music to 3D printing application videos on Youtube.

It's important to remember to keep the background details out of perspective... or in perspective, depending on whichever context you'd prefer to hock.

Re:Sunk Costs (4, Insightful)

rolfwind (528248) | about 9 months ago | (#46802339)

Cosmetic designs of a hand like-prosthetic to prevent adults staring uncomfortably and children exclaiming "cool"!

Idk about you, but I'd think an obvious robot hand would be easier to deal with than a fake looking piece of plastic mimicking a human hand.

Re:Sunk Costs (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46802395)

I worked with a guy for years, though I only met with him every few weeks at most. Turns out he only had one arm the entire time I knew him, but it was a long time before I realized it, and I wasn't sure about that for quite a few meetings since his prosthetic was so good. Someone later just happened to mention that he'd lost it in a traffic accident years before.

Being initially inconspicuous might matter to some people.

If I lost a hand I'd definitely go for the robot look though.

Re:Sunk Costs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46802451)

If I lost a hand I'd definitely go for the robot look though.

Hasta la vista, baby.

Re:Sunk Costs (1)

The123king (2395060) | about 9 months ago | (#46802535)

This. I've got a birth defect that's left me with only 2 deformed fingers on my left hand. It doesn't bother me, i've never hunted out prosthetics (i like having feeling in my hand!) and no-one really notices. It took my english teacher many months to notice, and i think she's the only teacher to ever pick up on it. Many of my friends don't notice until i point it out too.

Re:Sunk Costs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46802689)

Does that explain why your post lacks capitalization of I?

Re:Sunk Costs (4, Funny)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 9 months ago | (#46802867)

I had an uncle with a wooden leg and I thought it was a big deal until I found out my aunt had a cedar chest.

Re:Sunk Costs (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46803151)

Slashdot is crap now. Why is you're shitty post marked up/

I've never had an account here, but the few times I posted (anonymously) usually got 5s. I am the AC above this. My post deserves higher than your shit.

Fuck you and your garbage.

Re:Sunk Costs (2)

JanneM (7445) | about 9 months ago | (#46802403)

Idk about you, but I'd think an obvious robot hand would be easier to deal with than a fake looking piece of plastic mimicking a human hand.

It's probably impossible to know until you are actually in the same situation. There have been highly functional, highly useful hand prosthesis long before robotics - the classical hook is just one example - but the vast majority of patients have always preferred a hand mimic, even when it is completely nonfunctional and even when the mimiry is far from perfect.

Not getting stared at, and fitting in, is critically important to people, in this case as in others. Should'nt be too surprising when you think about it in such terms.

Re:Sunk Costs (3, Insightful)

The123king (2395060) | about 9 months ago | (#46802553)

Not getting stared at, and fitting in, is critically important to people, in this case as in others. Should'nt be too surprising when you think about it in such terms.

Being that self-conscious about things that have happened or are out of your control is a waste of time, and that's coming from someone with a birth defect. If you're getting a prosthetic for extra freedom and usefulness, great, but getting a fake hand for the sake of a fake hand is just being vain IMHO.

Re:Sunk Costs (1)

JanneM (7445) | about 9 months ago | (#46802747)

[...] but getting a fake hand for the sake of a fake hand is just being vain IMHO.

People are vain. People do care what other people think of them, and people do want to make a good impression on others. And it's completely rational; we are being judged by how we look, what we wear, how we behave. What we think of that is besides the point.

So yes, it turns out most people care about what their prostheses look like as much or more than how well they function. Any maker that disregards that is setting themselves up to become a niche within a niche; and most likely a long-term failure.

Re:Sunk Costs (-1, Offtopic)

The123king (2395060) | about 9 months ago | (#46802841)

Chuck 500 grams of ricin in would do the same job, more effectively, and would probably be easier to get.

Re:Sunk Costs (1)

artor3 (1344997) | about 9 months ago | (#46802827)

Great, go tell that to the people who lost a hand. I'm sure it will make them feel better.

Hurr, stupid idiots, having emotion! Why don't they just stop feeling things!?

It is possible to know (1)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 9 months ago | (#46803131)

It's probably impossible to know until you are actually in the same situation.

It's possible to know because you know how it is from the side of people noticing things. I find artificial hands immediately obvious, as much so as a robotic hand would be.

I think either would fare just as well in terms of not attracting notice when covered by a glove. Why not, then you would just look a little odd in summer...

Re:Sunk Costs (1)

laird (2705) | about 9 months ago | (#46802763)

Interestingly, kids LOVE 3D printed hands. If you go to http://enablingthefuture.org/ [enablingthefuture.org] there are tons of pictures of thrilled kids. It's cool to be like Iron Man!

Re:Sunk Costs (2)

ColdWetDog (752185) | about 9 months ago | (#46802377)

- and since it is a commercial product, a couple of million dollars getting it approved by the FDA.

It all adds up.

Re:Sunk Costs (5, Insightful)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | about 9 months ago | (#46802393)

Well, not only that but most people don't know how to operate a 3D printer, nor how to customize the hand to fit the individual. So while the $42,000 hand includes the professional services involved with fitting the device, the 3D printed one depends on a charitable donation from the 3D printing operator to do the work. It won't be much but it's all probably going to be significantly higher ($400-$1,000) for the human being to operate and configure the 3D model for the individual.

I bet there are only $100 worth of aluminum, gold, silicon and acrylic in the $42,000 hand too.

This drives me crazy when people don't include the costs of labor. It would be like someone getting a car donated to them and saying "Wow cars only cost $200 for a title and registration! Why do people pay thousands of dollars for a car!?" Because someone gave you one for free!

I work in film production. I have a $50k camera that I rent out. On most productions your total rental per day will be about $2,000 a day. Now you could say that you could shoot a TV commercial for "only $2,000 in rentals!" But that ignores the fact that cameras don't operate on their own, lights don't just place themselves, actors should be paid for their skills, assistant directors need to keep production on schedule, locations need to be paid for the rights to use their property etc. So yeah it "only costs $2,000" as long as you ignore the $20,000 per day in crew costs for a small production.

People who say a film only costs $20,000 to make are either productions that somehow shot and finished in 1 day or else they're saying that their crew's time was worth nothing.

If I spent $10,000 on a 3D printer. I couldn't just open the box and push the "Give me a 3D Prosthetic Hand" button. I would either need to spend a good week or so learning how to print ($100 an hour * 40 hours = $4,000) or else spend $1,000 on a professional to setup and configure the scene/hand for me specifically. /Rant.

And the developer of the 3D printer is relying on (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46802417)

.... being able to steal the IP that others spent time and money designing, testing and getting approved.

Unfortunately people actually ignorant enough to believe that a part is going to magically design itself in a 3D printer.

Re:And the developer of the 3D printer is relying (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46802579)

>> .... being able to steal the IP that others spent time and money designing, testing and getting approved.

You're an idiot, if not else, to think we are idiots, too.

a) These things have been made since eons (it's on Wikipedia);
b) if you worked and put a lot of money on research and someone bests you with $50, you're a lousy entrepreneur: deal with it;
c) IP doesn't exist; you can't own ideas; in case you legally can, in your backward country, the world is set to correct your and your laws way of thinking;
d) it follows nobody can steal what you don't own, so basically fsck off.

You can lie to everyone saying you need to pay salaries, school for children, clothes, expensive patent registrations or FDA analysis but, in the end, it's not what you want -- it's what people can afford. Upfront, I'd say that should cost 1,000 bucks, tops. If insurance won't accept it to drive a truck, well that's another story. If you're going to charge $10,000 for that, you don't know how to do it and no amount of research will make it less expensive. It's not your expertise and by lobbying to acquire a monopoly you'll be doing everyone a major disservice.

Stick to what you know and do it (well, except if you're a lobbyist).

> Unfortunately people actually ignorant enough to believe that a part is going to magically design itself in a 3D printer.

Yes, it will. This is the main idea bout open source: things appear magically because some good soul did without compensation. We've been already there and that discussion is over: free lunches do exist. The future has arrived... welcome!

Re:And the developer of the 3D printer is relying (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46802787)

> You're an idiot, if not else, to think we are idiots, too.

I retract this comment.

I still think what you're doing is an idiocy; I just hereby admit I say idiotic things on occasion and thus am not qualified to call anyone idiot.

Alas, we should not confuse a situation (doing idiotic things) with nature (being an idiot).

I stand by my post otherwise.

Re:And the developer of the 3D printer is relying (4, Informative)

laird (2705) | about 9 months ago | (#46802873)

"steal the IP that others spent time and money designing, testing and getting approved"

The designs of the 3D printed prosthetics are substantially different from modern commercial prosthetics, because the manufacturing process is utterly different. And mechanical prosthetics have been around for a very, very long time. So there's no "stealing of IP". Really, do some research before accusing people of theft.

"people actually ignorant enough to believe that a part is going to magically design itself in a 3D printer"

So far what's happening is that people with design skills and a 3D printer are making designs to help themselves or others in their area. Then they share the results with people who can then adapt and print the files. So what's "magically" happening is that people are sharing their work freely, to everyone's benefit. Because they need the problem solved so they solved it, but they don't want to be in the prosthetics business so they gave the design away.

You know, like Free Open Source Software. Which has worked out pretty well so far.

People are great at ignoring labour (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 9 months ago | (#46802621)

I see that all the time in IT with people wanting to cowboy up solutions cobbled together from a bunch of random shit. Yes, you can do that, and it can be made to work. However how much time will it take to do and support? Because unless your time is free, you need to factor that in.

Labour is a big part of the cost of pretty much anything you buy. Software is the ultimate example. The materials and distribution cost of software is minimal even if done on physical media. However that doesn't mean it is free to produce. It takes a lot of labour, in the form of programmers writing the code, QA testers reviewing things, support staff, and so on, to make the product happen.

Physical devices are no different, they just have higher materials costs. However all the labour cost is there. People had to design, build, test, etc, etc, that product and they all need to be paid since they all like to eat, have a place to live, and all that jazz.

Re:People are great at ignoring labour (1)

Handover Phist (932667) | about 9 months ago | (#46803085)

There are plenty of talented people willing to put time into labour and support. There are a ton of people working for free in their spare time outside of their full time time jobs doing stuff that counts. Designers design when their not at work. Carpenters shape wood into what they or someone else wants when they're on free time. There is a market outside of money where talented folks just help each other out. They do it for fun or for a favor returned. It's a part of "all that jazz".

Re:Sunk Costs (1)

misexistentialist (1537887) | about 9 months ago | (#46802749)

If I spent $10,000 on a 3D printer. I couldn't just open the box and push the "Give me a 3D Prosthetic Hand" button

No shit, you need to print the button first.

Re:Sunk Costs (5, Informative)

CodeBuster (516420) | about 9 months ago | (#46802409)

To be fair, some of these costs would exist in any business. There are always capital equipment costs, employee costs, administration costs and in some cases research and development costs. However, you are on the right track with your criticism of artificially high medical device costs. Indeed, these high costs can be seen not just in prosthetic hands or limbs but also in more mundane devices such as hearing aids and prescription eyeglasses. In my estimation there are two main reasons for this:

First, the devices are sold through specialized middlemen who bill your insurance company which in turn bills you and perhaps your employer for premiums. This is the classic third party payer problem that exists throughout the healthcare industry here in the United States and is in no small part responsible for the high costs which are ultimately borne by the consumer in the form of higher premiums and higher out of pocket costs.

Second, and related to the first point, the market for FDA approved medical devices here in the United States is highly regulated and therefore high cost. There is a great deal of regulatory rigmarole and ceremony required to bring a product to market. This imposes costs of course, but it also results in delays while the product winds it's way through the circuitous approval processes. By the time something is approved for sale as a medical device it's not only expensive but often obsolete or at least several generations behind the state of the art technology.

Finally, it ought to be remembered that medical devices are now assessed an additional tax under Obamacare, on top of any previous expenses. It's hard to see how this will lower costs, especially for those who find themselves in need of a medical device. Although, I suppose that "reform" is in the eye, or the hand in this case, of the beholder.

Re:Sunk Costs (1)

WinstonWolfIT (1550079) | about 9 months ago | (#46802557)

True. But from a practical point of view, 3d has brought to market a simpler device that works better, and has far less technology -- with its associated costs -- behind it. In scale, I can see this technology easily approaching 10% of the cost.

Re:Sunk Costs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46802577)

10k for a quality 3d printer, are you joking? I'm not sure you could do it on a printrbot simple (build area question), but a normal 200x200mm bed, such as a Mendel (or variants) will be able to print that. So from somewhere between $300 and $1000, roughly. I've got 3 printers in my field of view, and if it cost $2000 for all 3 I would be surprised. (Mind you, one of them is a simple.)

If you are paying ten thousand dollars for that, you are being ripped off. Mind you, if you've looked at Stratysis, their FDM (tm) printers are pretty crappy compared to Reprap printers, and within that price range. (Though they have some nifty powder printers.) Hell, even Makerbots, are under 3k, and they are IMO, a bit expensive.

Re:Sunk Costs (1)

laird (2705) | about 9 months ago | (#46802875)

The Cyborg Beast is assembled from parts, each of which can fit in a small build area.

Show me the books (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46802651)

The additional $41,950 is allocated towards sunk costs including

  • - Cosmetic designs of a hand like-prosthetic to prevent adults staring uncomfortably and children exclaiming "cool"!
  • - Insurance/class action insurance for when the prosthetic ends up injuring/irritating one or more users or people, or things, or otherwise perishable or damageable entities the hand interacts with.
  • - Robustness to last through more than, say, 10,000 cycles before snapping into brittle plastic shards.
  • - Salaries and children's college funds for the scientists, designers, and MBAs running the prosthesis companies
  • - Salaries and children's college funds for the academic and medical researchers involved in prosthetic studies, both mechanical, psychological, and sociological

When I see the actual books - not what the PR people say or what is reported to the SEC* - then I'll believe it.

The CEO class - actually they are MDs in the medical industry sometimes with a MBA on top of that - usually gets the spoils.

And the insurance on the lawsuits is exaggerated.

*They don't have to nor do they volunteer to report the most of the above costs. All you will see is overall insurance costs, R&D, and lump sums of ALL the salaries. To get an actual product cost (indirect and direct) is impossible outside of the company. So unless the parent happens to be the CFO or in accounting of one of these companies, the parent's post is speculation - at best. And let's keep in mind that ALL businesses cry about their costs, government regulation, and all those unwarranted lawsuits to justify their obscene profits; when the truth is they could make a fraction of their profits and still do quite well - as we can see with companies in the same business who make a very nice living in countries other than the US that have civilized medical costs and single payer systems.

I actually worked in a dental device company. The part was made for $5 out the door - including government shit and lawsuits/insurance, it ws then marked up to $25 - because we could; the distributor marked it up to about $100 - because they could; and the dentist charged the patient $200 - because he could on top of his labor.

A $5 hunk of metal cost us $200.

Re:Sunk Costs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46802693)

Let's not forget, so long as a prosthetic hand costs $41,950, you more or less need to buy insurance to get one. So long as all medical costs are outrageously high, you mor or less need insurance to get medical treatment. Hence, the insurance company has little interest in trying to push down the actual cost of such devices or medicine in general. Sure, they pay through the nose themselves to fund all the procedures and such, but at least they're there as a middle man just like the RIAA is.

Of course, having said all that, no doubt the actual cost is a good bit more than the $50 even if you amortize the cost of obtaining a 3D printer and using it for most the rest of your life and the low actual labor cost to you to learn how to use it--suggesting like others that a week working at it equates to $100/hour * 40 hours is insane because most people don't make $100/hour and the opportunity cost for most people during those hours is incredibly low given (1) they wouldn't avail themselves of earning extra money regardless and (2) most places aren't going to hire you to work at your leisure whenever you like as a second job and those that do tend to have horrible effective pay rates even if you effectively make it a second full time job. But, that's still no where near $41,950 and honestly if 3D printers were to start showing up at Lowe's or whatever, well, no doubt doctors could just prescribe a blueprint and directions to go there (along with a note to buy a couple replacements for when the first breaks).


Re:Sunk Costs (2)

itzdandy (183397) | about 9 months ago | (#46802701)

This is really the point. The $40K+ prosthetic is simply over engineered. It's a poor argument saying that we should support engineers, their families, their companies, etc so that they can charge a disabled person $40K when we could have a single developer make a much simpler product that can be produced at a local 3D fab shop or in the garage of an enterprising neighbor.

Clearly this is an early version, though fully functional. Improving aesthetics can certainly be an optional component. Today, a black or clear acrylic prosthetic would be of very little concern to many people and I only see that as becoming more of a non-issue.

The other interesting part of this is that someone in need of such a device could invest in the tech to customize and produce a device specific to their needs. maybe they have a palm, or less to work with. Customizing the device to suit them at their own pace with rapid prototyping changes their disability. The thriving makers movement can facilitate the sharing of schematics so you might find a near-ready model that you can alter to fit. maybe even spawn a boutique prosthetic shop in your town.


Re:Sunk Costs (2)

jxander (2605655) | about 9 months ago | (#46802789)

There's also the concept of "Price the Market will bear," which gets convoluted in the mire of health insurance companies. No one really knows what the market will bear, cuz it's always just payed whatever price was asked.

$42,000 for a prosthetic hand? Sure, if that's what it costs.
$1000 for an MRI? OK, if you say so.
$500 per pill to treat my hypochondria? Seems reasonable... etc.

Right now, the market will bear a 42,000 hand. And these guys could probably sell their $50 version for 45,000 on the claims that it performs better and feels more comfortable. The real costs of medical stuff (operations, hardware, medication, etc) has long since been lost to the bureaucrats.

Re:Sunk Costs (4, Insightful)

laird (2705) | about 9 months ago | (#46802847)

You're coming very much from the prospective of a wealthy American/European, where a $42K prosthetic is an option.

But if you're not covered by very good insurance, which is the case for the majority of humanity, an affordable 3D printed hand is much better than nothing.

And a free/open innovative community working on prosthetics can move much faster than the commercial options, and perhaps innovate past them the way home 3D printing exploded past the commercial 3D printing companies. The commercial guys were too concerned with the expensive/subtle issues, when what people may well care more about is being able to cheaply and easily solve their problem.

You're right that the $42K prosthetic isn't the same as the $50 one. A major difference, which you missed, is that it's myoelectric and active, while the $50 one is mechanical. It turns out that for this patient, the simple, mechanical solution worked better than the sophisticated, computerized one. So it's fundamentally a cheaper, simpler solution.

The rest of the costs pretty much come down to the traditional business model vs. FOSS. If you want to buy a product from a company that you can sue, with MBAs and lawyers and on-staff researchers, etc., you get to pay the big bucks for the product. If you don't have the money for that, or you prefer free/open source solutions for other reasons (such as the ability to modify the designs to suit your personal needs), you can go the Free Open Source Software route, and print your own.

Yes, this relies on volunteer labor to do the printing, assembly, fitting, etc. There are 600+ people registered at http://enablingthefuture.org/ [enablingthefuture.org] (mainly in the Google+ group). That's the point - by empowering people with FOSS designs and documentation, they can help each other, at much lower cost than paying professionals with all of the overhead that you mention. And it turns out that many of the volunteers work professionally in the field - this is just a new way for them to apply their skills to help patients.

And I'll also point out that your comments reveal some misunderstandings of how rapidly 3D printing has progressed.

- It doesn't cost $10K for a quality 3D printer. You can get a fine 3D printer for $1K, or a cheap one for $300, and the most expensive home 3D printer is $3K. There are some great industrial printers, but it would be stupid to buy an industrial printer to print one thing - there are plenty of people and Maker spaces who already have 3D printers. See http://enablingthefuture.org/c... [enablingthefuture.org] and register if you're interested. And of course there are service bureaus such as ShapeWays if you really want a high-end printed version.
- The materials aren't as fragile as you think. There are 100+ people happily using ABS prosthetics now, and we're finding that printing in Nylon is amazingly durable. You can hammer on Nylon, and just bounces back. Amazing stuff. Hospitals and medical researchers are using 3D printed Nylon now, so using it for prosthetics is pretty reasonable.
- If you can print a replacement for the raw cost of materials, that changes the economics. If you can print your own replacements for $1, it doesn't make sense to spend $millions in R&D, and spend vastly more for the prosthetic's materials, because the cost of avoiding breakage far outstrips the cost of the breakage.

All of the designs are published, and open source. So there's nothing being hidden in the video - you can download the models and inspect them to your heart's desire.

If you don't like the music that someone selected, feel free to make a better video!

Re:Sunk Costs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46802905)

You are right, so the true costs are $10,050, with a recurring $50 fee every 6 months or so. If you wish to change models of the prosthetic it will cost you that $50 all over again. Well that and you probably have to reprint the hand every 6 months or so from wear and tear... so in 300 years or so we will see who had the better investment!

Re:Sunk Costs (1)

MrBigInThePants (624986) | about 9 months ago | (#46803243)

And you are all missing (surprinsingly) the ability to add things such as 3d printed guns, knives, hooks, crossbows, dildos to your hand.

Why settle for just a boring old hand when you can become inspector gadget?!

Re:Sunk Costs (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 9 months ago | (#46802993)

make it 1000 for the printer.

10 000$ bucks printer(mojo) doesn't print in taulman nylon(which is what he is now printing another version in for him). ..part of the reason why the commercial hand option is so high is that the person isn't expected to pay from his own money at all, but from insurance.

Re:$10,000 investment in quality 3D printer (1)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | about 9 months ago | (#46803197)

Yeah, but not since the original days of Libraries has there been a chance for Library/Staples option to "rent a 3d printer".

That could bring down the price to print something to say $100 + materials and Bring Your Own Design.

They are the patent trolls of the future (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46802323)

They are the patent trolls of the future

The fight against 3D printing is right around the corner.

A different beast (5, Informative)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 9 months ago | (#46802333)

I'm no expert in prothetics, but it seems the printed Cyborg Beast [thingiverse.com] hand is a completely passive device, relying on wrist movements to control the fingers. On the other hand, the $42,000 device was a "myoelectric prosthetic device, which took signals from the muscle fibers in his forearm, translated those signal, and then used them to mechanically move the fingers of the prosthetic, which looks pretty close to an actual hand."

This guy prefers the less-realistic device. Good for him. A direct comparison is somewhat unreasonable, though.

Re:A different beast (1)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | about 9 months ago | (#46802991)

More importantly it ignores labor costs. Simply listing the price of the materials isn't an apples to apples comparison to the robotic hand which needs someone to setup the 3D printer, and then actually assemble the hand (Probably takes someone with a working hand to perform the threading of the cables etc.)

Re:A different beast (1)

laird (2705) | about 9 months ago | (#46803021)

Typically the first one is assembled by the volunteer working with the family, as a training session, and after that they can print replacements and do the assembly themselves.

this approach does require a parent/relative/friend with some dedicated to get started. There's a map of volunteers http://enablingthefuture.org/c... [enablingthefuture.org] . If you don't have anyone around that wants to help, you'd better have insurance to cover paying a professional to help you out.

Stack Overflow (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46802335)

The article references a message board, which contains one post referencing the article.....my head hurts.

Re:Stack Overflow (1)

laird (2705) | about 9 months ago | (#46802881)

The group has a web site http://enablingthefuture.org/ [enablingthefuture.org] which links to a map of participants, and a very active Google+ community.

More money does not always buy better things. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46802349)

We need more examples of this decoupling of the price from how good something is. A $30 aeropress coffee maker is as good as a $5000 espresso machine. A double edge safety shaver that uses 20 cent blades is far superior to any expensive disposable shaver system, even the ones with 5 blades. A $150 Formica counter top fulfills all the duties of a $3000 granite counter top. And yet we are constantly told by marketing and advertising that better equals more expensive. It shouldn't be a surprise at all that something could be better and also cheaper.

Re:More money does not always buy better things. (5, Insightful)

turbidostato (878842) | about 9 months ago | (#46802385)

"A $30 aeropress coffee maker is as good as a $5000 espresso machine"

Haven't tested a $5000 one so I can't say. I tested espresso machines at any bar at, say, Venetia, and I can attest that no, your $30 aeropress coffe maker is no challenge for them.

"A double edge safety shaver that uses 20 cent blades is far superior to any expensive disposable shaver system, even the ones with 5 blades."

I use them and I agree.

"A $150 Formica counter top fulfills all the duties of a $3000 granite counter top."

The $150 Formica counter top at my rented flat and my mother's 30-year-old granite one beg to differ.

"And yet we are constantly told by marketing and advertising that better equals more expensive."

Yes, marketing (publishing, to better say) is quite clever in using bad rationals to push sells.

Better equals more expensive and that's right more times than not. The point is that more expensive doesn't equate better (see? even you fall on bad rationale).

Re:More money does not always buy better things. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46803277)

Exactly. OP chose some bad examples. Formica counter top... Everyone knows the best is corrian or quartz. Granite is permeable and needs to be resealed.

Re:More money does not always buy better things. (1)

InsultsByThePound (3603437) | about 9 months ago | (#46802477)

A $30 aeropress coffee maker is as good as a $5000 espresso machine.

As an owner of an expensive automatic machine, not quite $5000 but up there, I like the convenience it offers and it makes great coffee for an automatic. I have to clean it very seldomly. The aeropress looks good for what it is although I don't trust plastic and hot water together.

A double edge safety shaver that uses 20 cent blades is far superior to any expensive disposable shaver system, even the ones with 5 blades.

Agree. Companies moved on from DE to proprietary cartridges for profit.

$150 Formica counter top fulfills all the duties of a $3000 granite counter top.

Not quite. I had formica crack under a hot pot, stain, scratch, and chip. The first I haven't seen my granite countertop of 10 years do, and the latter 2 were much, much reduced to nil. Might not be worth it to everyone though, I can see that.

Re:More money does not always buy better things. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46802973)


Re:More money does not always buy better things. (1)

blueg3 (192743) | about 9 months ago | (#46802705)

An Aeropress doesn't make espresso. It makes a good drink, and it does it decently well, but you're comparing different coffee beverages. (Could the beverage made by a $30 Aeropress satisfy many people just as well as espresso. Sure!)

Formica doesn't have anywhere near the mechanical and chemical properties of granite or other high-end countertops. If all you want is something that will hold up cutting boards and room-temperature objects, they do the same thing, yes. But a granite countertop is practically indestructible.

Re:More money does not always buy better things. (2)

jklovanc (1603149) | about 9 months ago | (#46802713)

A $30 aeropress coffee maker is as good as a $5000 espresso machine.

Things aeropress can not do;
- Heat the water
- control temperature
- steam milk
- foam milk
- Make a shot in under ten seconds
- . grind the beans
- operate by pressing a button.
The $5000 espresso machine is generally used for commercial shops and is much more versatile that an aeropress. An aeropress is similar to a $5000 espresso machine in the same way a sewing needle is similar to an industrial sewing machine.

A $150 Formica counter top fulfills all the duties of a $3000 granite counter top.

Formica is not as resistant to burns/stains/scratches as granite and does not have the look of granite. Why not make all flooring thin vinyl. It covers the floor.

Just because two things have a similar function does not make them similar in value or price.

Re:More money does not always buy better things. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46803083)

An aeropress gets thoroughly pwned by a ~$200 2nd hand semi-automatic espresso machine. Not that the aeropress can make espresso or milk-based espresso drinks like lattés or cappuccinos. It's really not the same thing at all, and saying it rivals $5000-ish machines like a La Marzocco GS/3 is ignorance. Sure, it's better than keurig, tassimo and that sort of stuff. It tastes about as good as coffee from a $30 french press really.

More money doesn't always mean better, but there's LOTS of times when you also get what you pay for!

Insurance, lol (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46802371)

The 3D printed hand probably sucked a lot more than they showed. Build that bastard out of titanium, refine the system a little bit. You'd have a kick ass 20k system. If insurance wants to get the other 20k back after you sell off the old system, tell them to pull it from your cold dead hand.

We all know the medical cartel... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46802373)

artificially pushes prices up with their protected monopoly. The only surprising thing here is the 84,000% profit margin.

Re:We all know the medical cartel... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46802857)

As someone paying more than $1k per day for a drug that you can buy in India for less than $20, I have to agree.

And WHO creates and protects the monopoly? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46802997)

BIG government, that's who. The only reason that prices on medical devices have to be so high is that government gets involved. Government is there with the crazy over-broad tolerance to extravagant lawsuits on anything medical .... which drives up the liability insurance rates for manufacturers. Government then steps-in with "reforms" that offer limited liability protections to manufacturers who comply with certain standards (and the big firms already successful in the marketplace happily lobby (bribe politicians) for those standards and rules they can comply with easily, but that any new upstart will not be likely to afford) and ...... SHAZAM! a new monopoly on "medical devices" is born. Got a great idea for a new medical device? Have you got $10 million dollars to spend clearing government regulatory hurdles before you can even manufacture your first sellable device? If not, then drop your idea and consider working in another field.

Same thing with airplanes. If you have a cool idea for a new single-seat propeller-driven airplane, the current estimate if $50 Million dollars to clear the FAA hurdles before you can make and sell the first plane; if you plan to make and sell 1000 copies of that plane, that's $50K dollars added to the price of each and every one. Now you know why you will never have a flying car or a jetpack.... (even if somebody clears the hurdle with a pile of up-front investor cash, the retail price of the product is massively inflated by government). Note: the early guys to enter the field never face the hurdles. When the wright brothers built their planes there WERE no government regulations. When William Boeing founded Boeing aircraft in 1910, he faced no regulations. When the Loughead brouthers founded the Loughead Aircraft Manufacturing Company (later renamed to Lockheed) in 1912 THEY faced no regulations. When Glenn L. Martin founded HIS aviation company in 1912 he faced no regulations..... of course Lockheed and Martin are now merged as Lockheed Martin. When Leroy Grumman founded Grumman in 1929 he faced a very limited regulatory environment, as did Jack Northrop who founded his company in 1939. Here we are a century later with Boeing, Lockheed-Martin, and Northrop-Grumman as our three massive, in-bed-with-big-government aerospace firms. They're all just FINE with huge piles of regulations... they have whole departments of lawyers and paper-pushers (funded by taxpayer-provided defense contracts) to help them clear each and every regulatory hurdle. As a side-effect, they're hardly displeased that those same regulations make sure no upstarts are likely to arise and challenge them in the airplane business. When Burt Rutan's team got a little too interesting, Northrop simply bought them. Space-X is getting in there in the rocket business (sorta snuck-in under their radar - after all, who seriously expected somebody to got straight to rockets without doing jet planes first? and the big guys never considered that an internet billionaire might try to clear the hurdles... their eyes were on their own industry) but did ya notice how quickly the big boys convinced their government friend to lock-in a massive contract for their high-priced EELV rockets? Space-X will be "allowed" the crumbs.... they'll have to FIGHT for more.

When any industry becomes an established thing and starts making lots of money, several things happen:

1. politicians see it as a source of campaign money; they go to the people in the industry and say "I'd really like to help you succeed and avoid any terrible new regulations, but I might not be able to protect you if I lose my next election to that other guy..."

2. government gets comfortable with the industry; the regulators and bureaucrats get used to dealing with certain people and businesses and they'd just prefer not to have to break-in any "new people" (i.e. have to do any extra work to meet, learn about, and oversee new competitors)

3. the members of the industry who got in early and became rich start to see that manipulating the government into regulating in certain ways is a valid business plan; it becomes much easier to fund some political campaigns and lobby for regulations than to pay teams of engineers to innovate and hopefully stay ahead of twenty or thirty nimble little start-ups that each have some crazy new ideas they are eager to try.

Correction to headline (1)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 9 months ago | (#46802421)

$50 3D printed hand preferred over $42,000 prosthetic hand by particular guy

This is great news for this particular guy, but it doesn't necessarily follow that the 3D printed hand is therefore objectively better than the other.

One word answer: Liability (4, Insightful)

Theovon (109752) | about 9 months ago | (#46802471)

When you buy a medical prosthetic from a medical company, almost none of the sticker price covers materials or basic engineering. Most of the money is split between liability insurance and extra R&D and testing overhead to make damn sure that someone won’t misuse the device, thereby generating a law suit. In Law, products liability is a huge area; big companies have deep pockets and often lose in suits where the user of their product was clearly doing something really stupid. (Chain saw instructions: Do not use hands to stop chain!) The fact is, people are sue-happy, and that’s the primary reason why all medical devices cost so damn much.

If someone is selling 3D printed prosthetics, they are GOING to get sued, and they’ll get put out of business very quickly by some moron who found a way to hurt themselves in a heretofor never conceived of manner. It’s just inevitable.

If someone were to make open source designs avaiable for prosthetics so that people could print them themselves, you’d think that the user would be taking all the liabilty into their own hands right? Ha! When something goes wrong, the maker of the 3D printer will get sued. And no matter what kind of disclaimer they put on it, the maker of the 3D schematics will get sued too. All because people find amazing ways to hurt themselves and sue over it. Especially with medical devices.

Why do you think airline food is so damn expensive? When something goes wrong with a plane, everyone gets named in the suit. The airline, the airplane manufacturer, all subcontractors of said manufacturer, including the company that made the rivets, the supplyer of the airline food, the pilot, you name it.

Re:One word answer: Liability (1)

laird (2705) | about 9 months ago | (#46802731)

The designs are open source, and freely shared, very specifically with no warranty or guarantee. Just like open source software. People who release open source software don't get sued over the software, because they're not selling and supporting it, they're giving it away specifically with no guarantees or support.

I've worked in the airplane business. As screwed up as liability law is, there still has to be actual liability to award damages. So unless someone can prove that food was a cause of a crash, I don't think that the airline food companies are at risk of paying out over a lawsuit over a crash. And more relevant to the 3D printed prosthetics, if you build your own airplane (e.g. any kit plane) you can't sue the manufacturer. That's why in the US kit plates are relatively popular, because they're vastly less expensive than commercially sold airplanes.

And if you download an open source program/design and use it, and it's not suitable for your purposes, you don't get to sue anyone over it. It's been tried a few times, and went nowhere. If you want someone to sue, you have to go the commercial route, and pay more.

Re:One word answer: Liability (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46802845)

You have no idea what you're talking about. We're dealing with a medical device in this situation, not some open source piece of software that jerks off Linux penguins. You cannot simply release specifications for a medical device and think that because you made them free and said you're not liable that you won't get pounded into the ground by a lawyer who is much, much smarter than you. Grow up and face the real world some time.

Re:One word answer: Liability (1)

laird (2705) | about 9 months ago | (#46802945)

As I said, I used to work in the airplane business. And if you bought a kit for an airplane and built it yourself, you can't sue the company that sold you the kit because you assumed the liability. That's why most innovation in airplanes in the US is in kit planes - commercial manufactures fall under liability, which complicates their lives quite a bit, which (perversely) discourages innovation, so many people are flying airplanes with engine designs from the 1950s.

Hand prosthetics are "prosthetic devices class I, non-significant risk devices" by the FDA.

http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/... [fda.gov] .

Re:One word answer: Liability (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46802961)

It's less likely. With a company there is actual money to be had. With an individual by the time you win they're all out of money. Now if you go aginst that persons insurance company (ie car, house, etc)... that changes things a bit. Whose policy would you go after for someone who releases source in this case? Most people I know would be broke before the trial started. Good luck getting money out of someone who doesn't have any.

medical industry = rent seeking (1)

buybuydandavis (644487) | about 9 months ago | (#46802499)

This shouldn't come as a big surprise.

You'll routinely pay 10x or 100x markup for all that lovely FDA "protection". If only the mafia were providing health care, I'm sure their "protection" wouldn't be quite so pricey.

Medicine is all about information technology and customization. The prices of these things have been coming done exponentially, but medical prices still go up. Why? Because fuck you, that's why. Because they can. Because with medicine, the link between your money and your life is more direct than usual, therefore those with the guns can rob you like any mugger would, taking every last penny in your pocket. Would you rather be dead? No? Then you'll fork over whatever they say. They make competition with the government approved rent seekers illegal, then say "pay up or die". It's a great racket.

Re:medical industry = rent seeking (1)

hyades1 (1149581) | about 9 months ago | (#46803057)

What kind of idiot fails to understand that all those nasty government regulations came about because people were getting fleeced left right and centre by quacks, confidence men, grifters, Republicans and other thieves.?

Re:medical industry = rent seeking (1)

buybuydandavis (644487) | about 9 months ago | (#46803123)

"all those nasty government regulations came about because people were getting fleeced..."

Are you really enough of a buffoon to believe that?

I'd note that if the concern were really about getting fleeced, fraud has been both criminally and civilly actionable for a long long time.

Re:medical industry = rent seeking (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46803149)

Look up p values and null hypothesis.

Large corporations beware (1)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about 9 months ago | (#46802505)

One of the big advantages that big corporations bring to bare is the ability to finance big long term product development all the way through to manufacturing and distribution. One of the ways they do this is through shear scale of infrastructure. So if a washing machine company comes up with a new washing machine it is easy for them to put it in front of the consumer; easy that is compared to your average schmoe. But what happens in a world where either some guy tinkering in his basement in Northern Manitoba can come up with something cool, and either you can print it at home or have some local printing company print the device? While that guy might not have the marketing might to blast out his new invention; marketing is usually what is needed when one product is largely the same as the others. But if that guy comes up with something genuinely cool, viral marketing ought to go pretty far.

Now in some cases the big old corporation will just make the guy an offer or try to beat him up with their legal department, but in many cases people will just put out their designs as CC0 or some other open license and that is that. It will be Pandora's box ever day of the year.

I look around my house at all the badly designed crap and marvel at why it isn't better. I even think about things that are well designed like my swiss army knife and wish to make changes.

I'll give an example of where the large corporations are simply not giving a crap and just sell us the same old same old as long as they can. My example is cordless telephones. My cordless telephones are absolute crap. Compare the typical cordless phone to my 10 year old Motorola Razr. That old phone runs circles around my 1 year old cordless phone. So when I go to Best Buy and look at their selection of cordless phones they are all basically the same crap. I am willing to bet that the unit cost is under $10. I am also willing to bet that the marketing, shipping, and other administrative costs are potentially greater than the materials and manufacturing cost. The only real function of my cordless phone is to make some shareholders richer.

So now picture a future where I can 3D print my new cordless phone(yes I know that circuitry printing is a ways off and that by the time it comes around cordless phones will be a dead technology) what the heck kind of cordless phones will people be printing. I am seeing tiny little things with massive ranges and ungodly battery lives. I am also seeing something that interacts with my computer.

So now run around your house and think what could I 3D print where the materials cost was a tiny faction of what I paid. I am thinking all the hardware around my house like doorknobs, locks, hinges, drawer sliders, etc. Those things are all way overpriced. Then think about your bikes, lawnmowers, rakes, shovels, etc. Things that are built like crap and break all the time. When I lived somewhere really snowy I would guess that we went through around 2-3 Canadian Tire shovels a winter. They all broke in the same place. And so on.

So basically I don't believe anything that comes out of old media and thus don't read/watch it; so I am very hard to market at. So I can see a future where more and more of what I own will be designed by "some guy" and then printed either by me or by some local specialist in 3D printing. I also see a future where that 3D printer was 3D printed from an open design as well. Ideally it even gets to a point where the materials that I print are largely recycled locally or completely a commodity product. Thus there is no room for rent seeking in my 3D printing.

I'll even give you my uber dream. My house is 3D printed, all the hardware inside is 3D printed, the furniture assembled from locally produced wood and 3D crafted I will unlock(3D Printed) the door and step over the threshold in 3D printed shoes.

Re:Large corporations beware (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46802911)

and this is something you typed out on easter sunday
  GG bro

living life to the hilt.

Re:Large corporations beware (1)

silas_moeckel (234313) | about 9 months ago | (#46802971)

3D printing right now tends to scratch an itch for somebody. Recently the GF had a part break on a brand new lamp. Nothing fancy just a utility light for her crafting room. 30 seconds of searching on thingverse to find that multiple people have come up with a better replacement. Mind you I'm a wood guy a few minutes with a scrap of hardwood and a shop full of tools would be my normal response but had a new toy to try out.

prosthetic human outperforms (1)

turkeydance (1266624) | about 9 months ago | (#46802545)

49% of the population.

I saw one in a movie many years ago... (1)

toonces33 (841696) | about 9 months ago | (#46802595)

As I recall, it was Dr Strangelove. But the ones they had back then had glitches that caused the hand to attempt to strangle the person to whom it was attached. I am sure that they have this problem corrected by now..

No good to me (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about 9 months ago | (#46802655)

Unless it has a gun built into the index finger

Rather than compare... (2)

Rick in China (2934527) | about 9 months ago | (#46802663)

I see them as having different purposes. Rather than go into details about the hands and their obvious/not so obvious differences or the minutia of when which performs better and how to define PKI for those metrics, it can bes implified into: At least poorer people have options now, that is ALL that matters.

Re:Rather than compare... (1)

laird (2705) | about 9 months ago | (#46803031)

Exactly! Thanks for getting to the heart of the matter.

bisnis (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 months ago | (#46802727)

sangat bermanfaat sekali,..

I make prosthetics for a living. (5, Interesting)

joeshmoo (1221826) | about 9 months ago | (#46802821)

I am a prosthetist, and I regularly fit and bill for these devices as a result. Sure it sounds great that this particular patient can get a hand made for $50, but it’s not a fair comparison and doesn’t necessarily apply for every amputee. Also, as several others have pointed out, that does not take into account the labor or other overhead costs. (Cost estimates that follow are just some ballpark figures)

First off, the patient has part of his hand, and has opposition capabilities at his wrist. If his amputation level was directly through the wrist, or higher, the 3D-printed hand would need a harness or some other element to provide the body power. He’s also lucky enough that he can get away without having an extensive socket to suspend the 3D printed hand on his arm as a result.

Based on the myoelectric prosthesis shown, the $42,000 cost is likely “Usual and Customary” cost. At a contracted rate with insurance on a device like this, you’re probably best case looking at about $16,000 actually being billed to the insurance company. Looks like a Sensorhand Speed (or similar) hand being used, which has a parts cost upwards of $4000 from the manufacturer. The electrodes, battery unit, and custom made socket probably cost an additional $3000 in parts. The billed amount to the insurance company includes the prosthetist’s evaluation, casting, manufacturing, fitting, and subsequent follow-up and adjustment appointments for 6 months.

All that said, the patient probably shouldn’t have been fit with the system shown; most of the benefits he’s stating (such as holding a box at work) are more related to him having a proper limb length with the 3D printed hand! The myoelectric prosthesis shown has thrown off the alignment of the hands for performing bimanual tasks, placing his prosthetic hand way further from his elbow than his sound side hand. He would probably benefit from an M-finger prosthesis which would probably have only run about $5,000 to the insurance company, even being custom made to match the patient. Probably $1500 in parts.

.... but if they said a $1500 prosthetic hand was outperformed by $50 3D printed hand, people wouldn’t get as hyped up.

Re:I make prosthetics for a living. (1, Interesting)

laird (2705) | about 9 months ago | (#46802987)

Wow, nice to see someone with an informed post. The amusing thing to me is that we've got tons of videos, and this is the one that made Slashdot. But we're happy with any of the patent's stories. They're pretty cool, actually - patients talking about their prosthetics, shot by either the patients, their parents, or the "maker", and a few videos of people giving presentations (e.g. at TED). Check out http://enablingthefuture.org/m... [enablingthefuture.org] .

We're not claiming that 3D printed prosthetics are better than commercial prosthetics, just that they're more accessible. Particularly outside of the US and Europe, the cost is a huge barrier, and we're excited that we are producing designs, documentation, etc., empowering people to help each other if they don't have a viable commercial option.

Re:I make prosthetics for a living. (1)

ThomasBHardy (827616) | about 9 months ago | (#46803003)

-sigh- bad day not to have any mod points

Thanks for posting an informed, reasonable response.

The reason medical devices are expensive (4, Interesting)

kheldan (1460303) | about 9 months ago | (#46802855)

If it's any sort of 'medical device' then the FDA must approve it before allowing you to sell it in the U.S., and in order for it to be approved by them you must do testing the FDA mandates. The testing is complicated and very often expensive, and if your device can't pass the testing then you have to go back to the drawing board and fix whatever it is that causes it to fail the test. Additionally the FDA demands certain manufacturing standards. They can come in and inspect your production facilities, personnel, methods, procedures, tools used, etc. If they don't like the way the communal kitchen looks or whether the communal refrigerator is clean enough for them, or any number of other nit-picky things, they can prevent you from selling or even producing your device; they can shut your company down completely. Sometimes the cost of all the testing and jumping through the hoops the FDA requires you to jump through will cost more than your device costs to produce. The end result is the costs are all tacked on to the final price of the device being manufactured. The 3D-printed prosthetic obviously wasn't FDA approved and couldn't be mass-produced and sold without going through the same process that everyone else has to. Since 3D-printing is relatively new and there hasn't been much if any legislation to govern it's use, what will likely happen at some point in the future is that anyone offering the CAD/CAM files to produce something like this prosthetic hand on a 3D-printer will be jumped on by the FDA and required to do the requisite testing of the finished product or face legal action against them. Furthermore I wouldn't put it past the FDA to require only 'authorized' 3D-printers to produce such things. Of course if it's all open-source and people are building their own 3D printers then the FDA can more or less go fuck themselves, but there'll be a shitstorm over the whole subject, guaranteed.

Source of my information: Personal experience from working for a medical device manufacturer for 5 years.

Re:The reason medical devices are expensive (1)

laird (2705) | about 9 months ago | (#46803001)

Luckily http://www.accessdata.fda.gov/... [fda.gov]

Luckily "External limb prosthetic component, Class I" aren't regulated as tightly.

Not "the craw"...THE CRAW! (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 9 months ago | (#46802893)

Do you think you can use adamantium in a 3D printer?

Asking for a friend.

Re:Not "the craw"...THE CRAW! (2)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about 9 months ago | (#46802903)

OK, I realize I may skew a little older than many Slashdot readers, so here. Consider this your Easter gift:

http://youtu.be/ftgAG3Vnif8 [youtu.be]

Re:Not "the craw"...THE CRAW! (0)

hyades1 (1149581) | about 9 months ago | (#46803019)

I never have a mod point when I desperately need one.

the reason (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about 9 months ago | (#46803171)

Well, $41,950 of that $42,000 is government medical approval, licensing, paperwork, other assorted lawyer and FDA crap, etc.
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