3D printed prosthetic hands created at the Radcliffe Science Library

4 March 2016

Image of two prosthetic hands printed on a 3D printer at the radcliffe Science Library, Oxford

The Bodleian Libraries Radcliffe Science Library (RSL) has been involved in an exciting and innovative project with the Department for Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine at Churchill Hospital. Ed Choi, a researcher in the department has been using the RSL's 3D printers to create 3D prosthetic hands, downloaded from Enabling the Future, to show to charities in Sierra Leone for potential use for people who have lost limbs due to the civil war and the blood diamonds trade.

Image of a prosthetic hand printed on a 3D printer at the radcliffe Science Library, Oxford being fittedTwo plastic hands were printed and taken on show to the Makambo Amputee Camp in Sierra Leone where a 'fitting ceremony' was held. 3D printing of plastic hands is a very cost-effective way to produce hands to a custom fit; the plastic hands cost £30-50 to make, a fraction of the cost of traditional prosthetic hands, and can be assembled relatively quickly.

Thanks to generous funding from the Helen Roll Charity the Radcliffe Science Library houses two 3D printers and two 3D scanners. These machines are available to all University students and staff, giving people the chance to learn about this cutting edge technology, and stimulate ideas about how 3D printing can be used in teaching, learning and research.

Image of a prosthetic hand printed on a 3D printer at the radcliffe Science Library, OxfordThe 3D printers have proved immensely popular and have been used by various students and researchers on different projects, including making a 3D 1:1 scale size model of a human brain, a knitted periodic table and a 3D Bronchi Model. Several 3D Printer 'bring a design/object' events are scheduled throughout Hilary Term and are open to students and staff from all disciplines. The events are running on Tuesday 18 February 10-1pm, and 2-5pm, and Friday 11 March 10-1pm, and 2-5pm.

For further details on the 3D printing and scanning, please contact Richard Smith: Richard.smith@bodleian.ox.ac.uk, or view the online Lib Guide.

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