3D Printers Making Hands for Children
For children going through life without an arm or hand, for whatever reason, traditional prosthetics can be bulky, heavy, hard to handle, and out of reach financially. Prosthetics are by nature expensive, and with normal rapid growth, children can outgrow prostheses rapidly, so that many insurance companies and families find them cost-prohibitive. Enter technology, and the new world of 3D printing.
The technology of 3D printers is rapidly advancing, and for one little girl, it changed her life. Overnight, for $50, the printer made all of the parts necessary for her new arm and hand, even printing in her chosen colors of blue, pink, and purple. Once printed, the parts needed to be fitted together with screws, then with a new colorful appendage this little girl was off and running, or more literally, biking.
7 year-old Faith suffered from compartment syndrome in utero, after doctors tried to save the arm for almost a year they decided amputation was the only option. With help from the non-profit group E-Nable, and the Build It Workspace in Orange County, California, the time spent on the waiting list paid off for Faith and her family.
According to California State University prosthetics professor Mark Muller, an adult-sized prosthesis with sensors can easily cost $20,000. When Faith outgrows this one pound hand another can easily be built in about the same time and cost as this one.
Faith’s new hand has some motor movement controlled by moving her arm up and down, she can easily grasp a toy or a bike handle with it. It does have space for a motor if that should be desired in the future. For now, this little grl can easily strap on her new hand, she says it is much easier to ride her bike with it’s light weight and does not require her to lean as much.
When anyone loses a limb, anything that can make their lives easier is a decided benefit. If it can be comfortable, affordable, and easy to use that is even better.
http://www.cbsnews.com/news/high-tech-low-cost-robotic-hand-changes-girls-life/”>Source Source Source
Photos are stills from CBS video and stock photos