A low-cost prosthetic hand, designed in Cape Town and 3D printed in Bloemfontein is pointing the way to a brighter future for amputees, writes DIRK LOTRIET.
Award-winning academic and mechanical engineer Dr George Vicatos and his Master’s student at the University of Cape Town, Severin Tenim, designed the hand and sent the plans to the Centre for Rapid Prototyping and Manufacturing at the Central University of Technology (CUT) in Bloemfontein.
“We ‘printed’ each of the little parts individually before we sent it back to Cape Town, where it was assembled,” said centre director Gerrie Booysen.
The 3D hand (Dirk Lotriet, News24)
The result is a mechanically operated prosthetic hand that offers a much more affordable option than anything already available, which makes it perfectly suited to the South African public health sector. The Bloemfontein-built prototype has been exhibited at expos and was well received.
According to Booysen, the hand is undergoing evaluation by medical experts.
“A patent application has already been filed,” he told News24. “There has been a lot of interest in the new artificial limb.”
Project engineer Johan Els explained the fascinating building process to News24 at the CUT offices.
A “sacrificial part” is “grown” in polystyrene, using advanced 3D printing technology. This part is covered with a ceramic slurry. The polystyrene piece is then melted away, leaving a cavity in the ceramic which is perfectly suited for pouring a range of materials – nylon in the case of the hand.
The engineers are extremely experienced at building medical designs. In fact, they had to limit the time spent on the interview because they were busy with another project at the time – “growing” heart valves. At the same time a patient was in theatre receiving a new jaw which was manufactured at the centre.
“The hand has been named ‘the Tenim Hand’ in honour of Severin Tenim,” Booysen said. “Tenim and Dr Vicatos won the ‘Cutting Edge’ award for this hand at the last Popular Mechanics annual FutureTech Conference.”
Vicatos has a passion for medicine and often works with orthopaedic surgeons and oncologists. Hundreds of his other designs have been implanted in patients during operations in South Africa and India.
CES: So long, and thanks for all the beer!
Last week, the Las Vegas expo showed off its fun side with state-of-the-art technologies for enjoying beer, writes BRYAN TURNER
From craft beer-making machines to robots that pour beer, CES had more beer than usual in Las Vegas last week. And even free beer if you found the right stand. Stampede’s saloon-style booth offered beer to visitors who tried out its latest drones, virtual reality, and other gaming products. No beer tech, though.
Here are some of the beer technologies that stood out:
LG HomeBrew – Craft beer made at home
LG’s HomeBrew craft beer-making machine, debuted at CES 2019, brings the brewing process home thanks to single-use capsules, a self-cleaning feature, and an algorithm optimised for fermentation.
Like a Nespresso coffee machine, the beer maker uses capsules, which contain malt, yeast, hop oil and flavouring. At the press of a button, LG HomeBrew automates the whole procedure from fermentation and carbonation to ageing. A companion app lets users check HomeBrew’s status at any time during the process, from their handsets.
The beer machine not only offers a simple way to make craft
Designed with discerning beer lovers in mind, HomeBrew allows for in-home production of batches of more than 4 litres of beer in a variety of styles. The following five distinctive, flavoured beers are available now:
- Hoppy American IPA
- Golden American Pale Ale
- Full-bodied English Stout
- Zesty Belgian-style Witbier
- Dry Czech Pilsner
The only catch? It takes about two weeks to make, depending on the beer type.
“LG HomeBrew is the culmination of years of home appliance and water purification technologies that we’ve developed over the decades,” said Dan Song, president of LG Electronics Home Appliance & Air Solutions Company. “Homebrewing has grown at an explosive pace, but there are still many beer lovers who haven’t taken the jump because of the barriers to entry, like complexity, and these are the consumers we think will be attracted to LG HomeBrew.”
Click here to read about the party speaker that holds beer and robots that pour beer.
CES: Alienware gets Legend-ary
At CES in Las Vegas last week, Dell’s Alienware released a family of high-end, thin, light, and affordable machines for both amateur and professional gamers – and a new identity.
Alienware marked CES 2019 as a brand milestone with the debut of a new design identity, Alienware Legend. It aims to set a new bar of excellence for what gamers want most – performance and function. Alienware says it evaluated multiple concepts and chose one that was the biggest and boldest departure from its current look.
Alienware Legend, says the company, stays true to the brand’s core design tenets, taking cues from its deep roots in sci-fi culture and its early industrial designs, to distinguish the brand from the rest of the industry. The new Legend design is optimised with cutting-edge thermal cooling technology to achieve and sustain overclocking power, improved AlienFX lighting, and ultra-thin screen borders. It also unveiled a new “three-knuckle hinge” design that reduces the overall dimension while creating a stronger assembly, all combining to yield a better gaming experience.
“We’re excited to come to this year’s CES with some truly groundbreaking products, next-gen software and strategic partnerships that will bring more people to experience PC gaming and advance the industry,” said Frank Azor, vice president and general manager of Alienware. “The legend design answers the call for more and better from our gaming community, and the new G Series laptops will make PC gaming even more accessible to those looking for high-performance gaming at a cost they can appreciate.”
Click here to read about Alienware Legend in action with the Area-51m and m-series laptops