3D printed Star Wars prosthetic arm

A Young American Received A 3D Printed Gift That Transformed His Life

http://goo.gl/K3X0BL

Nearly every young boy is obsessed with Star Wars. But for Liam Porter of Augusta, Georgia, a Star Wars obsession may actually be warranted — he’s got a mechanical limb like many of the characters in the galaxy far, far away.

The 7-year-old was born without his left arm below the elbow, and his family has struggled for years to find a prosthetic that he could be proud of and is able to use with ease.

On Saturday, his life changed when Liam was greeted at his local movie theater by people wearing Star Wars costumes and given the best gift he could ever dream up: a functional new prosthetic arm like that of Luke Sykwalker himself. The prosthetic was made using 3D printing technology, according to the Augusta Chronicle, the newspaper that first reported the story.

Liam’s prosthetic is the brainchild of John Peterson, who recently acquired a 3D printer and was searching around the web for nifty projects he could do with it to occupy his time.

Peterson happened upon e-NABLE, an online community of 3D-printing geeks who volunteer their technology — and time — to make prosthetics for people in need, especially kids. Volunteers from the organization work with professional designers and engineers, and open-source schematics for free to anyone who wants them.

Using 3D technology has strong advantages in this case. Many insurance companies do not cover costly prostheses for children because they will quickly outgrow them. While a standard prosthetic hand for child may cost upward of $9,000, a 3D printed version can be made for just a fraction of that amount. It took Peterson about three months to make Liam’s new limb at a cost of about $300.

Along with the his new arm, the local group of costumed Star Wars enthusiasts presented Liam with a helmet and a “Friends of the Garrison” 501st Legion certificate, which makes his Stormtrooper appointment official.

The Force is certainly proud of Liam.

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Prosthetic arm from 3D printer

Here’s some touching news to brighten up your Monday a bit 🙂

http://rt.com/news/175904-kid-prosthetic-arm-3d/

image from http://today.ucf.edu

A 6 year-old boy from Florida born with right arm deficiency has received a prosthetic replacement. Now climbing a tree and catching a ball will be easier for him. Students from Florida University made it on a 3D printer for just $350 in just 8 weeks.

Help for little Alex Pring, missing his right arm from just above the elbow, came from students at the University of Central Florida. An engineering doctoral student, Albert Manero, heard about the boy’s needs and decided to recruit a team of students to create a solution for the boy.

“I mean, I’m me. So I don’t have an arm,” little Alex said. “I still try real hard to do things like other kids using what I’ve got. But it’s getting harder the more I grow,” according to the official website of University of Central Florida.

The arm and part of the hand were made on a 3D printer. They run with off-the-shelf servos and batteries that are activated by the electromyography muscle energy in Alex’s bicep.

Alex’s new limb only cost $350 to build. In comparison, prosthetic arms for children cost much more – about $40,000 – and they have to be replaced often as children grow.

Also prosthetics for kids are more difficult to make than for adults because the components are much smaller, according to Manero. When Alex gets too big for his new limb, new parts will be printed and they will also be cheap– only $20 for a new hand, and around $40 to $50 for a replacement forearm.

“I hope that people look at these other arms that cost $40,000,” Manero said. “If we can do this for just $350 in 8 weeks, I’m sure we’re going to keep pioneering.”

The arm was delivered to Alex on Friday. He practiced his new limb on a toy duck. He managed to grip the toy and squeeze it with his new hand. Then he rushed to his mother to hug her with both hands –for the first time in his life.

“When he hugged me with two hands, he just didn’t let go,” said Alyson Pring, Alex’s mother. “It was amazing. I think it will help his confidence, so he can see future possibilities and make them seem all the more reachable for him.”

Manero, who has a master’s degree from UCF in aerospace engineering and is writing his Ph.D., said he believes the team’s design could help many similarly affected children.

“My mother taught us that we’re supposed to help change the world,” said Manero. “We’re supposed to help make it better. That’s why we did it. The look on Alex’s face when he used it for the first time was priceless.”

And the enthusiastic team doesn’t want to stop at Alex – they have decided to help all children with such problems.

“We’ve already heard from another family who needs an arm. We’re committed to helping who we can.”

“ I think 3-D printing is revolutionizing our world in many ways. I believe changing the world of prosthetics is very real. There’s no reason why this approach shouldn’t work on adults too.”

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