Prosthetics and Video Games Come Together with 3D Printing
Simon Martin posted on June 17, 2016 |
A partnership between a video game developer and an open source prosthetics design initiative bring ...

The “Augmented Future” project is helping to bridge the gap between fiction and reality for creating affordable bionic hands with 3D printing. (Image courtesy of Augmented Future.)

If there are two product categories that continue to generate attention year after year in the 3D printing community, prosthetic devices and video game-related objects certainly rank high up on that list. While the low-cost customization capabilities provided by 3D printing make it a near-perfect solution for creating affordable prosthetic devices quickly and on-demand, a similar case can be made for dedicated video game fans who create customized real-world objects based on digital versions found in their favorite virtual environments.

Through a new partnership between a video game developer, Eidos-Montréal, and an open source prosthetics design initiative, Open Bionics, both of these product categories will be coming together in the lead-up to the release of the anticipated Deus Ex: Mankind Divided video game, which is scheduled for release on August 23, 2016.

"Mankind Divided" is the fifth installment of the Deus Ex cyberpunk-themed first-person action role-playing video game series, which is set in the 21st century and revolves around conflicts that arise between shifts in power and transhumanistic attitudes and technologies in a dystopian future setting. Among other technologies commonly used throughout the series is human augmentation through mechanical prosthetics.

Open Bionics and Eidos-Montréal are helping to bridge the gap between fiction and reality for prosthetic wearers by working together to design, 3D print, scan, power and create affordable bionic hands.

Unsurprisingly, the immaculate art direction and execution from the game designers led to an outpouring of requests from some players for physical versions of the virtual prosthetic arms as seen in the game. Working with the talented engineers of Open Bionics, the game designers were able to convert their concept artwork into functional part assemblies that will eventually be open-source and able to be 3D-printed around the world.

According to Open Bionics, there are an estimated 2 million hand amputees worldwide. Many of the traditionally manufactured prosthetic devices can cost tens of thousands of dollars and need to be replaced—particularly for those wearing the devices who are young and still growing. With the ability to easily customize the physical design and colors of 3D printable prosthetics, the Open Bionics team has already successfully made other designs, including those with Star Wars, Disney and Marvel Comics design elements, to make the experience of wearing a prosthetic more exciting for young people.

The innovative Deus Ex project, which is currently operating under the title "Augmented Future," also includes the support of Intel RealSense and Razer Stargazer technologies to bring a true augmented experience to life with real-time hand motion tracking for a next-generation video game experience for all.


About the Author

Simon Martin is a writer and industrial designer in New York City.


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