Prosthetic limbs and assistive devices require customization to effectively meet the needs of users. Despite the expense and hassle involved in procuring a prosthetic, 56% of people with limb loss end up abandoning their devices . Acceptance of these devices is contingent on the comfort of the user, which depends heavily on the size, weight, and overall aesthetic of the device. As seen in numerous applications, parametric modeling can be utilized to produce medical devices that are specific to the patient’s needs. However, current 3D printed upper limb prosthetics use uniform scaling to fit the prostheses to different users.
In this paper, we propose a parametric modeling method for designing prosthetic fingers. We show that a prosthetic finger designed using parametric modeling has a range of motion (ROM) (path of the finger tip) that closely aligns with the digit’s natural path. We also show that the ROM produced by a uniformly scaled prosthetic poorly matches the natural ROM of the finger. To test this, finger width and length measurements were collected from 50 adults between the ages of 18–30. It was determined that there is negligible correlation between the length and width of the index (D2) digit among the participants.
Using both the highest and the lowest length to width ratio found among the participants, a prosthetic finger was designed using a parametric model and fabricated using additive manufacturing. The mechanical design of the prosthetic finger utilized a crossed four bar linkage mechanism and its ROM was determined by Freudenstein’s equations. By simulating the different paths of the fingers, we demonstrate that parametrically modeled fingers outperform uniformly scaled fingers at matching a natural digit’s path.