3D-printed upper limb prostheses: a review

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104 Citations (Scopus)
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Goal: This paper aims to provide an overview with quantitative information of existing 3D-printed upper limb prostheses. We will identify the benefits and drawbacks of 3D-printed devices to enable improvement of current devices based on the demands of prostheses users. Methods: A review was performed using Scopus, Web of Science and websites related to 3D-printing. Quantitative information on the mechanical and kinematic specifications and 3D-printing technology used was extracted from the papers and websites. Results: The overview (58 devices) provides the general specifications, the mechanical and kinematic specifications of the devices and information regarding the 3D-printing technology used for hands. The overview shows prostheses for all different upper limb amputation levels with different types of control and a maximum material cost of $500. Conclusion: A large range of various prostheses have been 3D-printed, of which the majority are used by children. Evidence with respect to the user acceptance, functionality and durability of the 3D-printed hands is lacking. Contrary to what is often claimed, 3D-printing is not necessarily cheap, e.g., injection moulding can be cheaper. Conversely, 3D-printing provides a promising possibility for individualization, e.g., personalized socket, colour, shape and size, without the need for adjusting the production machine.Implications for rehabilitation Upper limb deficiency is a condition in which a part of the upper limb is missing as a result of a congenital limb deficiency of as a result of an amputation. A prosthetic hand can restore some of the functions of a missing limb and help the user in performing activities of daily living. Using 3D-printing technology is one of the solutions to manufacture hand prostheses. This overview provides information about the general, mechanical and kinematic specifications of all the devices and it provides the information about the 3D-printing technology used to print the hands.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)300-314
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • 3D-printing
  • hand
  • prostheses
  • specifications
  • upper limb

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