A Hand For Odysseus

“Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think.” –  Martin Luther King JR.

Recently, the E-nable group had an inquiry for help in creating a hand for a 5 year old little boy in Greece named Odysseus who has no fingers on his left hand and not quite enough wrist movement to power one of our current  five fingered designs.

While the easy answer would have been to make him a hand that would require him to use his elbow to manipulate the fingers (bending of the elbow to actuate the fingers vs using his wrist) and thus leading to him having a bigger and bulkier device – one of our designers (Peter Binkley – who also designed our Talon Hand Model) decided he wanted to give it a try and make something that would not only allow Ody to have less bulky device (the other option would result in it taking up his entire forearm and up his elbow) – but that would encourage him to start working on gaining more wrist movement and reduce the amount of resistance he would need to make it work.

The result of Peter’s persistence and problem solving has resulted in the creation of the “Odysseus Hand” or “Ody Hand” for short.


This design is intended as a “Starter hand” for those that have a smaller palm, do not have enough wrist motion to use one of the larger hands or enough strength to handle the resistance of having 5 elastic bands to fight against.

The Ody hand has just 2 fingers and 1 thumb and has been designed in a more “Chunky” style that will help with grip and as the user gains more wrist movement through use and practice, they can then “graduate” to one of the other designs that has all 5 fingers.

One of the beautiful things about the E-nable group is that “Can’t be done” doesn’t seem to be in our vocabulary. 

Please feel free to download these files and “play” with them. Modify them. Print them and test them out.
The more minds we have working on designs like this – the more possible solutions to problems with designs there will be.

“It always seems impossible…until it is done.” Nelson Mandella

7 thoughts on “A Hand For Odysseus

  1. Bogdan Reply

    What is the principle for gripping in this case if there is no wrist movement ?

    • Warm Fuzzy Revolutionist Reply

      Ody has wrist some wrist movement but not enough to power 5 tensioned elastics. The hope is that by reducing the number of elastics he has to pull against – that he will be able to open and close two fingers and one thumb vs trying to close 4 fingers and one thumb.

      The 5 fingered devices require at least a 30 degree wrist bend motion and Ody isn’t quite there yet but over time and with use, as with most muscles – he should gain more degree of motion and be able to “Graduate” up to all 5 fingers!

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