We are sort of obsessed with the concept of 3D printing around her at Babesta. It’s amazing how it changes manufacturing and opens the possibilities to custom goods and custom medicine. This is a heartwarming story we read about where children were given the gift of grasp thanks to these technological innovations.
After South African Richard Van As lost two fingers in an accident, he came across a Youtube video featuring a big puppet hand that acts like a human hand uploaded by Ivan Owen. He reached out and the two decided to collaborate to create a human sized hand. After a few tests, Van As was fitted with their first creation; and quickly managed to use the hand, picking up different sized items. A mother contacted them after hearing of it, to see if her child, born without fingers on his right hand because of a rare congenital condition called amniotic band syndrome (ABS), could benefit from their discovery. The duo then created a new hand for the 5 year old, which created a beautiful moment. “He bent his wrist and made the fingers curl. You could see the light bulbs go off and he looked up and said, ‘It copies me.’ It was really an incredible moment.”
At first, Van As and Owen had no financial support to purchase a 3D printer, so they had to mend the separate parts manually, which took weeks. After finalizing their robotic hand, they contacted Makerbot to check if they produced their parts that would be printable using a 3D printer. Thankfully, Makerbot did, and they also went as far as to provide Van As and Owen a free printer, which really helped the duo start their project of Robohand. During the time of perfecting their hand using the 3D printer, the boy has raised money to help fit more than 100 children with Robohands, free of charge. They uploaded their perfected Robohand on Thingiverse, a website in which people share their digital designs for others to download. This Robohand can be easily created with the low cost of $5. It is truly fascinating to see that 3D printing has taken the next step to help those in need. It is very touching to see that there are so many people who do good for this world. Rock on, Richard and Ivan!!
You can check out a full detail and audio of this story here. -LK