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A survey on what Australian’s with upper limb difference want in a prosthesis: justification for using soft robotics and additive manufacturing for customized prosthetic hands

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-20, 02:16 authored by Stephens-Fripp, B, Walker, J, Goddard, E, Alici, G

Purpose: Upper limb prostheses are part of a rapidly changing market place. Despite development in device design, surveys report low levels of uptake and dissatisfaction with current prosthetic design. In this study, we present the results of a survey conducted with people with upper limb difference in Australia on their use of current prostheses and preferences in a prosthetic in order to inform future prosthetic hand design.

Methods: An online survey was conducted on upper limb amputees, with 27 respondents that completed the survey. The survey was a mixture of open-ended questions, ranking design features and quantitative questions on problems experienced and desired attributes of future prosthesis designs.

Results: Common key issues and concerns were isolated in the survey related to the weight, manipulation and dexterity, aesthetics, sensory feedback and financial cost; each of which could be addressed by additive manufacturing and soft robotics techniques.

Conclusions: The adaptability of additive manufacturing and soft robotics to the highlighted concerns of participants shows that further research into these techniques is a feasible method to improve patient satisfaction and acceptance in prosthetic hands.

Implications for Rehabilitation

  • Even with recent developments and advances in prosthetic design, the needs and desires of prosthetic users are not being met with current products.
  • The desires and needs of those with upper limb difference are diverse.
  • Using additive manufacturing to produce prosthetics allows for mass customization of prosthetics to meet these diverse needs while reducing costs.
  • A soft robotic approach to prosthetics can help meet the desires of reducing weight and costs, while maintaining functionality.


Australian Research Council


Publication title

Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology








School of Humanities


Taylor & Francis Inc.

Place of publication

United States

Rights statement

Copyright 2019 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group

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  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Expanding knowledge in engineering; Expanding knowledge in the health sciences

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