verhaal Will

Dit verhaal vormt onderdeel van een serie verhalen over projecten die in de WAR zijn gemaakt. Voor een overzicht van alle verhalen klik hier.

Will Harradine (Australian mechanical engineer)

I spent a month at the War when I was traveling through Europe. I worked on a prototype design for a robotic prosthetic hand—it's a hobby project of mine. Basically, the idea is that it's possible to make a prosthetic hand that mimics biology much more closely than current technology, allowing amputees the full range of motions and gestures that people with two hands have access to. The project is about producing something that, through subtlety of design and of motion, allows (previously) handicapped amputees to function exactly as any other human being might.

I'd been working on my design for a few months before I left Australia, but I couldn't find anywhere in my home city where I could build prototypes to test my design. When I stumbled across the War, I couldn't believe my luck—finally, I had an opportunity to take the first steps toward bringing my designs into real life! I knew I needed precision laser-cutting facilities and a workshop environment, which of course the War delivered, but what I didn't realise was how valuable the support and help of the FabLab team would be to my efforts. Without them and without the War, all I'd have is pictures on a computer! The War helps young designers with an idea but who have no equipment. In our modern age, we have unprecedented technological capabilities, but sadly they're only available to a lucky few! There's an endless sea of incredible innovation locked away in people's heads, purely because they have no outlet for it—the ideas that could change the future are just sitting around gathering dust!

Prosthetic hands are wonderful—there are some great companies doing fantastic work—but a lot of amputees find themselves a little bit disenfranchised; even the best prosthetics on the market at the moment are limited in their strength, their speed and their range of motion. My goal is to completely emulate the capabilities of the human hand; to enable accident victims to completely return to the life they lead before they lost their hand, including the mundane, day-to-day tasks, like typing or cooking food. Currently, as a result of my prototyping, I'm ready to start talks with folks from a university in my home country who are working to interface prosthetic limbs directly with the human brain.
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