Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Workshop: Building the Cyborg Beast Prosthetic in Hong Kong

[As soon as my PRINTRBOT is up and running, I will be in a position to custom print Cyborg Beast prosthetics for people as BIY (Build It Yourself) or RTW (Ready to Wear) kits.  I want to offer this service to the world.  I also know how to ship to anywhere in the world from Hong Kong using SpeedPost (w/ tracking) at an affordable rate.]

A little while ago, I was invited by the Hospital Authority of Hong Kong to speak at their annual conference for Prosthetics and Orthotics.  I was very honored to be invited to speak, and I did two things to help make the event lively:

First, I spent the morning talking about the emergence of MAKER culture in prosthetics, and how it has the potential to disrupt the healthcare establishment if not properly engaged in a constructive way.  My urging was for the Hospital Authority to engage with the "wildcat" prosthetic community and see if there were areas for collaboration, cooperation and mutual assistance.  My point was that the information imbalance that has always existed between healthcare producer and healthcare consumer has been irrevocably altered by Information Technology and the sooner the sector realizes this the better.  The result will be lowered levels of perceived disruption for all involved, and less people falling in the cracks and shadows.

Second, I held a 2 hour workshop where we built a Cyborg Beast hand prosthetic that was originally developed by the great folks over at enabling the future.  I can't say enough good things about this project and everyone over here in Hong Kong is grateful for their hard work.  Please keep it up and maybe some day soon we will be in a position to contribute to that project!  It is my dearest wish that we do so.

To get ready for the Cyborg Beast workshop, I worked with one of my former students to purchase, prep and assemble the tools and materials, get an idea of the actual build time and also simulate the workshop in its entirety.  We took about 2.5 hours to do the build and the photos that follow are a bit of a photo essay on how that experience went.

If anyone needs help to put together their own Cyborg Beast Workshop, feel free to get in touch with me via the comments section or my personal website at

According to my experience, the greatest expense involved is the ABS plastic that is extruded.  I have quite a bit of filament assembled over the last couple of years as a result of different projects that I've been involved with.  I find that what will take the most time is the extrusion process, which for this particular prosthetic took about three days to complete.  Happily, I don't really have to watch the extrusion process that closely once the printer is "dialed in".  I am currently rehabilitating a donated PRINTRBOT that arrived inoperative.  I hope to soon get it to the point where it can be dedicated to producing ABS Cyborg Beast parts, and would be pleased to help anyone looking to put a Cyborg Beast workshop together on a Social Entrepreneurship (i.e. non-profit but sustainable) basis.

Here's some photographs of our pre-workshop afternoon building the Cyborg Beast.  

The last four images are from the actual workshop itself, which was very popular.

Here's the workshop participants, all looking interested and happy