Artistic visions for prosthetic design IV - wooden design model hand

This is part of my Red Hand Series.

We all agree that cool options for a prosthetic hand do not have to necessarily be hugely expensive. Myoelectric options are not an option right now and at this moment, as I am not a glutton for painishment.

So I got a wooden hand with adjustable fingers. I banged it up so it'd fit on my wrist and here is how that looks. I can use that to try to look cool and for typing (that is noteworthy as that is just about what other people use ridiculously expensive prostheses such as the iLimb for).

By no way is this meant as a way to put down iLimb users but for a total cost of 78'000 CHF out of my own pocket (see how much is that in dollars!) I rightfully expect the combined performance of a luxury car with all the electronics, and a high end power tool, and a high end computer workstation - all in one. And for the iLimb I see more like a total cost of five small electric motors, a number of cast plastic pieces and some screws. And if they sold them for 5'000 CHF I'd have gotten one on my own right now.

These wooden hands here, however, sell for 25 CHF (some 1/3120th of the iLimb cost) and so may I introduce the term adequacy. I can and plan to use these as experimental substrates. There is no expected performance. I may wreck some material during tinkering and trying.

Mounting it

(pics... ummm... will follow)

First look

Wooden Hand

I can type with it by extending one finger down:

Wooden Hand

Wooden Hand

Problem is that the finger positions are not sturdy. So I have to adjust the hand to make fingers stay in a stable position. Also the hand is not red enough yet.

Damage and death of the idea

This type of hand is widely available for cheap money but not useful because of the following points:

  • Joints feature thin wooden plates. These break really easily and make for bad substitute for a prosthetic hands. I don't need full movement or even any movement - but I will carry or push items and generate significant forces. I broke that hand and even though it can be fixed, reinforced, improved, mechanical resistance is a huge factor in these hands.
  • Screws on joints are too weak. Fingers almost move by themselves and that causes more of an obstacle than a supportive help. Off the shelf hands contain regular wood screws. In order to render the joints more stable, squeezing the joint using a two part (male, female) screw is possible (I mounted a couple on my wooden hand) but ultimately to complicated to handle.

Cite this article:
Wolf Schweitzer: - Artistic visions for prosthetic design IV - wooden design model hand; published 20/06/2009, 17:59; URL:

BibTeX: @MISC{schweitzer_wolf_1638542623, author = {Wolf Schweitzer}, title = {{ - Artistic visions for prosthetic design IV - wooden design model hand}}, month = {June}, year = {2009}, url = {} }