Dare To Collaborate: Steeper Prosthetics

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At New Technology CADCAM we are helping more and more design teams collaborate easily and effectively on their product development. 

One team that has integrated their workflows so there can be no barriers between engineers is the prosthetics development team at Steeper

steeper-bionic-hand-blog Working closely with amputees at every stage of the design process and also using
Enterprise PDM to ensure everybody involved is working from the right drawings and assemblies, they have dared to dream and pushed boundaries to deliver the world’s most advanced prosthetic hand – the bebionic small hand. 

And we are delighted to announce that the bebonic small won New Mechanical Product of the Year at the British Engineering Excellence Awards 2015.

The Steeper team - Technical Director Ted Varley, Senior Mechanical Design Engineer Martin Wallace and product development manager Courtney Medynski – will be talking at our Dare To Design SOLIDWORKS 2016 launch event in Sheffield on November 12. 

Bebionic Small Hand was recently shortlisted for Mechanical Product of the Year at the British Engineering Excellence Awards. Here Courtney explains some of the challenges they overcame.

Q: What was your vision for the bebionic small? 

My vision was to design a robust anatomically correct electromechanical prosthetic hand the size of an average (American) female. Focus was placed on creating a design that was both sleek and modern, while providing the user with precise control by incorporating cutting-edge features and technology. 

Q: What was the biggest challenge?

One of the biggest challenges was to obtain the speed and grip force the bebionic Small Hand provides without increasing the external packaging/size of the hand. We also needed to ensure it remained robust enough to deal with the everyday life of the user.  


Q: Why is the bebionic small so revolutionary – what can it do that other prosthetic hands can’t?

The bebionic Small Hand includes cutting-edge technology such as F1 motor technology and patented encoding. It’s the world’s most lifelike prosthetic hand. It functions using a system that tracks and senses each digit, mimicking the functions of a real human hand. This allows the user to select pre-programmed grips with ease and repeatability, which increases their confidence in each grip.

Q: What reaction have you had from users? 

The reactions from users has been overwhelming and appreciative. We’ve heard so many amazing stories about how the full range of bebionic hands have changed their lives for the better by increasing their functionality as well as their confidence. It’s extremely heart-warming and gratifying listening to someone explain how bebionic has improved their lives. It makes my job even more worthwhile.

Q: How did SOLIDWORKS help you?

We use SOLIDWORKS a great deal for our mechanical design work. It also lets us integrate our electronics hardware design in 3D to investigate and solve any component clashes or areas of concern. This leads to more efficient designing and encourages even more integration between the two disciplines of mechanical and electronics, which can only be a good thing. 

Steepers-Courtney-blogQ: How is technology changing product development?  What factors are influencing the way you design?

We constantly need to keep on top of new technologies in order to provide the most advanced systems while ensuring we maintain a clear direction for our development team. As technology advances, we must also continuously adapt the way we develop products to ensure our customers’ satisfaction as well as their safety. Focus is no longer solely placed on smaller and faster, but also on such things as simplicity and smoothness. The look of our products is also another large factor that influences our current designs.

Q: What’s the future for prosthetics?

Technology is opening up a great deal of advancements within prosthetics. There is already a lot of time being spent on control systems, such as pattern recognition or even mind control; going from a non-invasive system to something that would require tapping into our brain or central nervous system. As a product development manager I’m excited about all the options we have with current research like this and how, in the future, we may be able to implement it in order to advance prosthetic devices.

BOOK YOUR SEAT: Come and hear Ted, Martin and Courtney speak at our Dare 2 Design North conference on November 12. Register your place now

Want to find out more about how to bring your designs to life? We have got some fantastic keynote speakers lined up including Mark Shayler from This Is Ape - read here about what he has to say about the VW crisis - and Manufacturing guru Will Bridgman from Warren Services. PLUS all the latest features and new tools you can expect in SOLIDWORKS 2016.  For a full run down of what’s on, read our Dare 2 Design SOLIDWORKS 2016 launch.


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