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$42,000 Prosthetic Hand Outperformed By $50 3D Printed Hand 288

Posted by timothy
from the chop-off-your-hand-to-check dept.
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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$42,000 Prosthetic Hand Outperformed By $50 3D Printed Hand

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  • A different beast (Score:5, Informative)

    by Sarten-X (1102295) on Sunday April 20, 2014 @08:44PM (#46802333) Homepage

    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:Sunk Costs (Score:5, Informative)

    by CodeBuster (516420) on Sunday April 20, 2014 @09:06PM (#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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday April 20, 2014 @11:17PM (#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.

  • by laird (2705) <lairdp.gmail@com> on Sunday April 20, 2014 @11:23PM (#46802873) Journal

    "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.

  • by oic0 (1864384) on Sunday April 20, 2014 @11:45PM (#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.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 21, 2014 @01:40AM (#46803283)

    Well it's not that simple and as an addict I know this very well and you obviously have no clue how hardcore withdrawals fucks with your mind. You'll do just about anything once they peak and you start feeling like the word is collapsing in on you followed by extreme mood swings, amplified senses, shitting yourself to death, extreme paranoia, body tremors, cold sweats, extreme nausea, depression, high blood pressure, erratic pulse, distorted time where minuets feel like hours, and that's just to name a few.

    The shock from withdrawals from harsher narcotics can kill you and like it or not junkies need help at that point. Luckily for me there is a methadone clinic 1.5 hours away 3 "some people there drive 4 hours one way" hour round trip every day for a long time but now it's once a month. It's the only thing that has let me live a somewhat normal life.

    For junkies very few options exist and if you don't believe me go out and buy a few Fentanyl patches and some Heroin and bang that shit for a few months then try stopping.

Whoever dies with the most toys wins.

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