Why did I hack the battery of my prosthesis

Pour la version française, c’est ici

This is a hack of a prosthesis battery: instead of the original battery and after several compatibility tests, we succeeded in replacing it with a battery easy to find in shops and, overall times cheaper. The price is one thing, but in France my prosthesis is paid by social security system, I do not spend anything, so why did I hack my prosthesis?

Because I’m fed up of being dependent on a charger that I have to take with me wherever I go: it obviously differs from the one of my laptop, my mobile or my camera. Because I want to recharge my prosthesis with a smartphone cable, not to have the mental “load” of a prosthesis which could run out of energy while I’m away or at a party.

This is not a futuristic bionic hand. It is simply an electric clamp on which are stuck, tightened with Velcro, or magnetized a battery and its micro-USB charger, a smartphone and a travel charger.


It is about a classical electrical hand (70s Ottobock design), a clamp which is usually covered with a human-like-appearance glove and which costs €5,000 without the intervention of social security. In black, it is a standard camera battery (LPE10 7.4 V 1,000mAh) to replace the other battery. The circuit board is removed from the body, which usually allows recharging the camera battery with a USB cable (this card boosts the tension from 5V to 7.4V). the telephone is held thanks to a magnetic stand which is an interesting solution when you only hand one hand free. Below, white-colored, it is a Power Bank. An external battery which allows to recharge a telephone and which recharges the prosthesis in this case. The charger-battery system costs about €50 and requires a little time spent in a fablab tinkering with all that (1 day).

Technologically, there is obviously no great innovation, but there is the satisfaction of doing it, of being a little bit more independent as we are technology-dependent humans. The innovation is overall to be find in the diversity of technological solutions that are suggested and reconciled. I am sure that MacGyver would have do the same!

Long live liberty! Long live USB !

As a conclusion, this is a hybrid prosthesis: we have put a camera battery and a micro-USB charger on my prosthesis. Soon, the fit will be 3D-printed and, a little later, an open source model will replace the hand. This way, I’ll have a prosthesis on which I can do something in case of breakdown. Because I decided that I want to know what the hand I hold every day is composed of, in order to control it, and not the contrary.

A full french documentation is available on the My Human Kit’s Wiki under the name Batterie Prothese USB

You can also find a resume here:

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