Children are getting involved in the 3D printed prosthetics movement, and learning valuable design and engineering skills in the process.
Since 3D printed prosthetic designs are easy to share and cost-effective to print, it has inspired DIY aficionados to use the technology to be creative and help others in need. Young people with and without limb difference are participating in this movement, designing prosthetics for themselves and those who otherwise couldn’t afford them.
Of course, kids will also be kids. While many of their designs are created for function, others are just for fun.
Check out these three inspiring programs and stories of kids who design and build 3D printed prosthetics.
BOOST x Born Just Right
BOOST invites children with limb difference to 5-day prosthetic-design workshops. They work with professional designers and engineers to design body mods that transform their limbs into cyborg gadgets. After completion of the workshop, they stay paired up with mentors to continue developing their prototypes and STEM skills.
The program is sponsored by major tech companies like Google and Autodesk as well as universities, all of whom have hosted the workshops. Along with 3D printed components, the students get access to all manner of robotic and AI technology to build their creations.
This video from Autodesk highlights the creativity and fun of the program:
BOOST is run by Born Just Right, a non-profit that helps children with limb difference develop STEM skills and build their own solutions to problems.
This six-year-old from North Carolina is possibly the youngest amateur prosthetist in the world.
Cameron was born with amniotic band syndrome which fused his fingers and toes together. Cameron gained the use of his fingers after several surgeries, but his hands still lacked dexterity. His mother Sarah turned to the e-NABLE 3D printed prosthetics community to create prosthetic hands for him so he could ride a bike.
Cameron was inspired to try this himself, and since the age of four, he has designed and printed 3D printed prosthetics for himself and other children. His “Invention Tool 5000” device allows kids who are missing a hand, fingers, or don’t have full use of their fingers to manipulate objects.
Here’s a video of him showing off how the Invention Tool 5000 allows him to fire a Nerf Gun:
Sarah and Cameron have now created over 50 prosthetic devices for children in North America and Japan.
They also founded a charity called Different Heroes that helps to raise awareness and acceptance of limb differences. Along with getting prosthetics to people in need, the charity sends kids with limb difference to camp and works to get children with limb difference in foster care adopted.
Prosthetic Kids Hand Challenge
The challenge started with three sixth-grade classmates in South Carolina. They were looking for ways to use their school’s 3D printer for social good, when they came across e-NABLE. Soon they were paired up with a South Carolina girl born without a left hand.
When they saw how much the 3D printed prosthetic hand they created changed the girl’s life, they proposed a Hand-a-Thon to get all their classmates involved in creating prosthetic hands. After winning the Belk Service Learning Prize for their idea, their class produced 19 prosthetic hands in one day.
The website allowed the girls to further their mission by encouraging schools or individuals to pledge to create 3D printed prosthetic hands for those in need. The site includes step-by-step instructions for 3D printing a prosthetic hand, including 3D printing tutorial videos by the students.
Want to learn more about 3D printed prosthetic technology? Be sure to also read our blog on the history and future of 3D printed prosthetics.
Featured Photo Credit: http://kidmob.org/