California girl receives a high-tech, 3D-printed prosthetic hand — for $50.
When Faith Lennox was nine months old, she lost her left forearm. Now at age seven, she has received a custom ‘robohand’ through the powers of 3D printing.
The easy-to-use prosthetic weighs only one-pound and cost the Lennox family $50 — merely a fraction of the price of traditional, sensor-laden pieces. What’s more, when Faith outgrows the prosthetic, whether it’s six months or two years from now, a replacement can be made just as inexpensively and easily as the first.
After trying numerous prosthetics throughout the years, Faith found them to be too bulky, heavy, and worst of all, difficult to use. And while on the search for a better alternative, her parents came across volunteer group e-NABLE, who has helped kids and adults seeking artificial limbs to build them through 3D printing. Currently, the non-profit organizations says that they’ve assisted nearly 1,000 hands for 700 families so far using their free, open-source design files. From there, the combination of experts from Cal State-Dominguez Hills, design studio Build It Workspace, and an Airwolf 3D printer brought the project to life.
The seven-year-old even had the opportunity to choose the colors and watch the printing process firsthand inside the Makerspace. Naturally, she would go on to pick a scheme of pink, blue and purple. What’s even more impressive is that the entire process took just about 24 hours. After slipping on the end product — comprised of 20 individually printed plastic pieces along with some metal screws and nuts — she was able to control it by simply moving her upper arm up and down.
And just like any kid her age would do, Faith took to her bike to test out her newly-crafted arm. It was a success! This example, among many others we’ve seen in recent weeks, demonstrates the limitless potential of 3D printers.