This month, designer Mat Bowtell released his long-awaited Kinetic Hand, a new open-source design supported by an illustrated 99-page assembly manual. Initially modeled from a 3D scan of his own hand, the design was made using a virtual clay modeling software called Geomagic Freeform Plus and engineered in Solidworks.
The 3-year project has collected intuitive improvements and iterations from recipient feedback around the world. The current model includes more than a dozen novel features, like the flexible and resilient split hinges for the digits. His team is excited to release his work and learn from the needs of the global community.
As part of his Engineering degree, Mat had the opportunity to study mechatronics at Chiba University in Japan, where he was first introduced to emerging bionic arm technology. In 2014, Mat joined the e-NABLE community on Google+ and became an active and innovative member in the early days. While working at Toyota’s Altona plant outside of Melbourne, Australia, Mat was building, testing, and delivering devices across the world.
When the plant closed down in 2017, Mat used his redundancy severance pay to volunteer full time making hands. After receiving a Westpac Social Change Fellowship grant, he undertook a world tour to meet with experts in prosthetics, bionics, and 3D printing. He met e-NABLE’s Ivan Owen, co-creator of the first 3d printed hand and Jen Owen, co-founder of e-NABLE and creator of enablingthefuture.org. Mat was even able to host Jen when she came to visit Australia later that year during a trip to deliver talks at 3D Med in Melbourne.
Today, Mat is the founder and director of a charity called Free 3D Hands. With 109 solar panels and two Tesla Powerwall batteries powering a 30kW system, the team can run 30 3D printers day and night from the power of the sun.
Mat and his team have kept busy during the pandemic by 3D printing 6000 free face shields. They’ve also been creating assembly manuals and developing a low-cost Bionic Arm. We have added the Kinetic hand to the e-NABLE Devices Catalog and it has made a big impression on the Hub!
Join Us Live November 19th with Mat on 3D Universe Untethered
In Episode 6 of 3D Universe Untethered, join co-hosts Jeremy Simon and Jen Owen of 3D Universe as they spend an hour chatting with Mat Bowtell, founder of Free 3D Hands in Australia.
Join us on November 19 @ 6pm Central to hear about how the Kinetic Hand was developed and what makes it unique. Register HERE to join live and ask Mat questions as he shares about his process and contributions, trials, errors, and ultimate successes.