This 3D-printed robotic hand can make lifelike movements

We’ve been covering the work of bionic prosthesis company YouBionic for some time now. As with any continuously iterating gadget or device, it has been fascinating to watch the concept evolve from a rough-hewn early prototype to what increasingly looks like a solid, well-engineered finished product. Well, maybe not quite “finished” yet — but it’s certainly getting there.

For those who haven’t been keeping track, YouBionic’s goal is to create a working 3D-printed robotic hand. This could be used for a variety of purposes, such as helping people with missing and partially functioning limbs, as well as acting as the final actuator for robotic arms. The fact that it is largely 3D printed also means it would be widely accessible to a large number of people.

“What can be seen in the video is the device created from the components which have returned the best results,” Italian engineer Federico Ciccarese, the creator of YouBionic, told Digital Trends. “These are the components which have finally made me proud, that I think will form the basis of what we do in the future.”

The YouBionic robot hand is capable of performing realistic motions on a level of fine-grain detail that’s similar to that of a human. Compared with the previous builds of the robot, this latest version boasts superior design and construction of the arm; thereby giving it more natural multi-rotational wrist movement, hand twisting, and elbow flexion. It’s also capable of increased strength, allowing it to interact with the outside world more like a biological hand.

It can either be controlled by a remote or pre-programmed movement or, as shown in the video, could be rigged up to mirror the movements of a person’s actual hand and arm. Ciccarese said that he is currently exploring ways that it could even be made to function based on the electrical activities recorded via a person’s brain.

“Our aim is to create devices that help or replace parts of our body,” Ciccarese continued. “We want to evolve humanity by using mechatronics. Imagine a completely robotic being that can be consciously controlled by a biological brain. That is what we are creating.”

Given how much of a game-changer, a high-quality, low-cost 3D printed hand prosthetic could be, we can’t wait to see what’s next for the project.


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