The Boy Who Made His Own 3D Printed Hand

Eve Sherrill York By Eve Sherrill York, 8th Apr 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/kyq_83cd/
Posted in Wikinut>Reviews>Technology>Printers

Nine year old Aidan Robinson has chosen to do things himself. Having his lower left arm missing since birth he has known many traditional prosthetic arms during his nine years. Early in his life he wore a doll-like arm that allowed his brain to develop motor skills on both sides of his body.

This Boy Made His Own Arm



Each year approximately one in every 2000 children are born without part of their hands or arms. There are others who lose them due to medical complications or accidents. Many outgrown and badly fitting prosthetics are being replaced with 3D Printing projects that are custom fitted and more affordable.

Nine year old Aidan Robinson has chosen to do things himself. Having his lower left arm missing since birth he has known many traditional prosthetic arms during his nine years. Early in his life he wore a doll-like arm that allowed his brain to develop motor skills on both sides of his body. Then there was a myoelectric prosthetics that relied on electrodes that responded to muscle movements. But these are expensive and run anywhere between $5500 and $15,000. These were unable to let him do more introcate things and are nick named 'cookie crushers' because they would unintentionally crush things.

Last July Aidan was a part of a one week camp called the Superhero Cyborg Camp. It is run by a non-profit organization based in San Francisco named KIDmob, a workshop for children who have lost their upper limbs. During this week Aidan and nine other students learned the basics of designing prosthetics, unique with superpowers.

With various parts of metal components, parts of old toys,3D printed parts and the help of experienced prothetists and volunteers Aidan assembled his unique prosthetic. Although this is not as flashy as a regular medical prosthetic it can be fitted with the important things a kid his age will need such as a spoon or fork, a giant Lego hand or even a Wii remote.

KIDmob is trying to pass on to these children the experience, ingenuity, and 21st century skills if you will, that kids such as Aidan will need. "Part of our intent (behind the Superhero Cyborg Camp) was to invite them to consider the possibility that they're not just limited to the prosthetic set on the market. As the end user of the prosthetics, if they have an idea that's not on the market, they could make it themselves," Kate Ganim, KIDmob co-founder explains.

At weeks end Aidan had devised a decorative device, and a designer at Autodesk, Coby Unger, found his design so impressive that he offered to make a working version of the arm. "I thought it was a unique perspective on prosthetics I hadn't seen before. And it had great potential for changing what prosthetic means and what it could mean," Unger said.

Unger began streamlining the basic cutlery and Wii remote concepts and even an attachment that lets Aidan play violin in his school's orchestra. It looks as if Aidan may own the most multifunctional 3D printed prosthetics in the world.

This type of outcome is exactly what 3D printing has to offer and shows that people of all ages can create innovative and practical implements. KIDmob shows that kids can have fun, even those with disabilities.

Tags

3Dprinting, Making His Own Hand

Meet the author

author avatar Eve Sherrill York
I am an award winning author and have enjoyed writing online for about a dozen years now. I like to write about what interests me and that list is long.

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