A man with 4 amputated fingers builds incredibly articulated prosthetic fingers, all activated by wrist movements

After having been amputated of 4 fingers of the left hand, a man decides to design and manufacture his own prosthesis, incredibly reproducing the real movements, although it does not contain any electronic element.


100 % mechanical prosthesis

A purely mechanical prosthesis that relies on the wearer’s own movements rather than on electric motors, batteries and sensors attached to the muscles, is not a new idea, but its capacities are limited compared to more technological prostheses. For those who have lost a hand or even part of their arm, prostheses such as Dean Kamen’s “Luke” arm are impressive and can restore a considerable amount of functionality. However, they are not cheap, which can limit their access to those who need them most.

In 2017, Ian Davis was diagnosed with a type of cancer known as multiple myeloma that can lead to weakened bones. In 2018, an accident at his workplace caused him to fracture his hand, leading doctors to have to amputate four of his fingers to save his life. Ian Davis is left-handed, and the loss of functionality in this hand could have ended his ability to work. Instead, during his convalescence in hospital, he drew sketches for his own prosthesis, and since then he has been improving, modernising and rebuilding mechanical fingers, sharing his progress on his YouTube channel


Precise movements without electronics

Just last week Ian Davis shared a video of the latest and greatest version of his prosthesis which is now able to spread and extend the fingers individually. Ian Davis’ amputation has left him with half of his left hand and wrist still functional, so instead of electric motors, he is able to bend and spread his artificial fingers using a complex series of mechanical linkages powered and controlled by the way he moves his hand and wrist.

As a self-proclaimed manufacturer, Davis’ prosthetic fingers may well be the ultimate boost, as they allow him not only to pursue his passions and remain productive in his workshop, but also to continue to live his life and perform mundane daily tasks. And like many manufacturers, Davis wants to share his creations and what he has learned with the manufacturing community in the hope that his prosthetics will inspire and contribute to the design of other prosthetics to make these important tools available, and more affordable, to those who need them.