27 Jul '16
Maksim Lyashko, a Siberian engineer, has developed a robotized prosthetic arm which is ten-to-a hundred times less expensive than the imported competition. To raise funds for the project, Mr. Lyashko is trying out Boomstarter, a Russian crowdfunding platform, portal Nanonewsnet.ru .
The inventor lost his own arm three years ago working in a mine. When confronted with snags the disabled like himself have to face, the 28-year-old from the Siberian city of Norilsk decided to make a prosthesis all on his own.
His MaxBionic prosthesis is built around an open source idea. It took him less than two years and about $5,000 in his own money to come up with the invention. Unlike two plastic pioneering versions, his new one, a third, will be metal-based and is expected to become a serial product weighing 400 grams.
The prosthetic arm consists of a control board, a number of electromyographic sensors, know-how finger drive system with self-blocking capability, and springy holding system. To keep an object elevated the finger doesn’t require permanent motor operation, and if the object tends to slide off the arm, it clenches the thing even tighter. It takes a user about 10 minutes to customize settings.
Prosthesis parts can be printed out on a 3D printer, and the entire product will cost around $1,000 with electronics all included. Industrial imports typically cost anything between $25,000 and $250,000.
Mr. Lyashko had prepared all engineering drawings and technical requirements all on his own—that’s why contracting component manufacturers saved him a lot of money, the inventor explained.
However, domestic investors barely put any stock in the open source version, Mr. Lyashko has to admit. Nevertheless, he keeps pushing for both his current product and a version for children aged 7-12. He needs about $23,000 to pull it off. If his Boomstarter effort fails him, he has plans for the coming fall to go to the international Kickstarter platform to try his luck there.