Image: Kennesaw State University mechanical engineering professor Simin Nasseri models a 3D-printed finger support she developed with the help of her students.

Simin Nasseri, PhD, an engineering professor at the Ga.-based Kennesaw State University (KSU) and her team of students have developed a new finger support that could help those suffering from finger deformities regain motor function. While there are supports available to help slow the onset of finger deformation, the devices had limited capabilities that rendered them unwieldy and uncomfortable, according to Nasseri.

Armed with extensive experience in biomedical engineering, and with several family members and friends who have finger deformities, Nasseri said she was inspired to develop an improved finger support that would allow others to tackle daily tasks more freely.

With the help of students, and after several months of research and mechanical testing, she has created a composite support with a soft polymer shell and a thin aluminum, steel or carbon fiber sheet running the length of the apparatus to provide rigidity. The shell was printed entirely in KSU’s 3D Center and the sheet was cut in the machine shop at the university’s Engineering Technology Center.

“Our support was designed to be used in ‘functional positions,’ meaning that you are able to slip it over your finger and perform normal tasks with your hands without difficulty,” said Nasseri. “Our final design is very durable and allows for a wide range of finger positions to maximize function.”

KSU alumnus Mushfequr Kotwal says research projects such as this have opened his eyes to a wide range of engineering applications. He adds: “The use of engineering to create medical devices really appealed to me, so I immediately sought out Dr. Nasseri to see how I could get involved.”