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Musical Dream Unbound


Invented by the team from CUHK’s Department of Mechanical and Automation Engineering and Prince of Wales Hospital, the prosthetic arm helps Shum Hang-fu (2nd left) realize his musical dream. He could play Under the Lion Rock one week after receiving the custom-built prosthetic arm.

Shum had never picked up any musical instrument before the serious car accident 15 years ago, a serious blow to one of his dreams. It was until he met an amputee learning to play the violin that inspired him to do the same. With the help of the Alice Ho Miu Ling Nethersole Hospital, he got a prosthesis with a simple aluminum attachment and clip, with which he held the bow. However, his prosthesis limited the extent he could use the bow.

Having heard of Shum’s difficulty, the team from CUHK’s Department of Mechanical and Automation Engineering and Prince of Wales Hospital jointly developed a new prosthetic arm that would help him play the violin. ‘We have designed an effective attachment to a socket, with a clip to hold the bow,’ says the team leader Prof. Darwin Lau (1st left).

The 3D-printed device is made of polylactic acid, a material which is lighter and more durable. The use of three screws instead of one allows Shum to hold the bow more steadily. The Prince of Wales Hospital made the socket with high-temperature thermoplastic resin. The new prosthetic arm enables Shum to use two-thirds of the bow, helping him play a wider music repertoire and enjoy the boundless music world.

This article was originally published in No. 517, Newsletter in May 2018.

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Mechanical Engineering automation engineering Darwin Lau 3D printing prosthetics Faculty of Engineering Department of Mechanical and Automation Engineering Prince of Wales Hospital