Universal Socket Prosthetic

December 15, 2017 | 10:48 am

Project team: Dominic Chiavacci, Hunter Garnier, Akhilesh Mishra, Stephen Shelnutt

Course: Designing for the Human Body, fall 2017

The Universal Socket Prosthetic is an open-source project that tackles the challenge of limb differences from a new angle, allowing anyone to create a customized prosthetic system that they can adapt and use over long periods of time. Rather than attempting to design a “jack-of-all-trades” arm, this socket system uses varying custom attachments to accomplish a wide range of tasks. It consists of a mesh, sandwich interface with the residual limb, combined with a hexagonal socket that accepts a corresponding shaft on attachments. Users can resize the mesh to fit different arms, and the attachment system allows for easy development of new components with simple CAD skills. The open-source files are available for download and remixing on Thingiverse.

With its low cost and ease of use, the system is particularly suited to children, who rapidly grow, break things, and try new activities; the system has been designed so that even children under age five can use it. Informed by the team’s user research on facilitating participation in sports and hobbies, the prosthetic can attach to anything the user wants by adding a simple 3D-printed hexagon to any object — from a baseball bat to a painter’s palette. By distributing high-level functions across a modular system, the team’s design aims to equip prosthetic users with a toolkit for effectively and enjoyably participating in a wide range of activities.

Want to learn more about the Universal Socket Prosthetic and its designers? Check out:

Project files on Thingiverse