Increasingly, the possibility of developing low cost and personalized prostheses using 3D printing offers engineers and people with amputations unique opportunities to partner in the design process.
We have also begun investigating simple 3D printed simulators for hand prostheses, which allows engineers without amputations to experience the prostheses they design. This is important to facilitate communication and understanding during collaborative, user-centered design cycles, as well as to support early testing using nonamputee populations. The goal is not to reduce the involvement of people with amputations in the design process, but to allow engineers without amputations to work out basic design decisions using simulators so as to mitigate the burden of unnecessary testing on the end user population. Our research aims to optimize these simulators so they most faithfully emulate the end user’s experience.