3D printers to make prostheses under NU grant

Posted at 6:27 PM, Jul 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-07-17 19:28:15-04

3D printers have come a long way since its invention. Now thanks to a new $150,000 grant, they are being used to make prosthetic hands to help low-income families.

The research is the first of its kind in the nation and it’s being created at the University of Nebraska-Omaha along with help from the other four institutions making up NU.

“It's totally untapped potential,” said Dr. Mukul Mukherjee, UNO biomechanics researcher.

This study looks at kid’s learning patterns and using a brain activation device to detect how their brain works with the 3D prosthetics.

“Shoots in laser light into the brain of the child as they are doing different reaching tasks and then the laser light reflects back to recorders,” said Mukherjee.

13-year-old Adam Gray tried out the new prosthetic, “it's a lot different than what I’m used to”.

Gray was born without a hand and said it’s different trying the prosthetic on since he’s used to not having a hand, but likes the way it looks on him.

“I like how its black than what I’m used to  like when I was young I went with a bunch of different colors and that's not what I would like today,” said Gray.


In the first year of the grant, the team will design and produce the devices. Participants will be recruited to test the new prostheses at the start of the second year.