Advances in technology can wow us with new phablets and smart watches, but it takes something truly special to make you sit up and google. That’s what happened when we saw the pictures of the 3D-printed Wolverine prosthetic hand that Aaron Brown created for the Maker Faire in Grand Rapids, Michigan this weekend.
Brown is a Michigan-based entrepreneur who looked at 3D printing as a great business opportunity. He volunteers with E-NABLE, a group of over 1500 artists, engineers, occupational therapists, teachers, philanthropists, and more from around the world who have come together to help create and design 3D-printed assistive hand devices for those in need. The response he received has been so great he’s inspired to build more themed hands. “People’s faces just LIT UP! The kids went crazy over it,” he told E-NABLE. “And don’t worry…the claws aren’t sharp! They are rounded plastic and just stick on and off with velcro…”
“I have plans for a few project hands – like a Military Wounded Soldier themed hand geared toward adults and to promote to Veteran’s Hospitals, VWF Groups and American Legion Halls,” Brown said when telling E-NABLE about the other plans he’s hoping to work on soon. “I also want to do some more themed hands for kids…Batman, Iron Man, Captain America…we’ll see!”
Wolverine isn’t the only superhero out there inspiring kids who may need a prosthetic device. Earlier today, we saw this video about a 3-year old Hawaiian boy named Rayven “Bubba” Kahae who was born with only one fully-formed hand due to ABS or amniotic band syndrome. He is also a recipient of an E-NABLE hand that looks just like Iron Man’s hand.
Perhaps the most amazing advance that E-NABLE is making with these 3D printed hands is with the price point. In the past, a custom prosthetic device could cost thousands of dollars. With solutions like those offered by 3D printing and crowd-sourced (but FDA approved) designs, families can obtain these devices for next to nothing. Talk about an inspiring step forward in medicine!
People are inventive and the inspiration found in comic books, toys, movies and books is immeasurable. Today, these kids are getting to use prosthetic hands inspired by their favorite superheroes. Tomorrow, they might be like this young woman. She crafted an entire prosthetic leg from LEGO bricks.