Daniel Omar, who lives in the Nuba Mountains of Sudan, lost both his arms at just 14 years of age when a government plane dropped a bomb near his village during the country’s protracted civil war.
“Without hands, I can’t do anything,” Daniel told Time Magazine. “If I could have died, I would have.”
Daniel – who is now 16 – only recently picked up a fork to feed himself for the first time in two years using a prosthetic arm with parts make on an Atmel powered MakerBot Replicator 2. The arm was designed by Mick Ebeling, the CEO of Not Impossible Labs, a California nonprofit devoted to technology for the sake of humanity.
Elliot Kotek, the chief of content for Not Impossible Labs, told the official MakerBot blog that the design for Daniel’s prosthetic arm was adapted from the Robohand, an open-source project designed by Richard van As, a South African woodworker who lost several fingers in an accident, and Ivan Owen, a prop maker in Seattle, Washington.
“Richard had already created the Roboarm and he also had modified the original Robohand so that it was enclosed at the top of the hand. This change will better protect the hands from the elements,” Kotek explained. “Richard is really out to make a difference on a humanitarian level. That spirit rubs off on us.”
Indeed, Not Impossible Labs recently transported two MakerBot Replicator 2 3D printers to Mother of Mercy Hospital, near the border with independent South Sudan. Ebeling then spent five days in Sudan training seven local fabricators to make prosthetics. Using the two 3D printers, hospital staff can produce one prosthetic a week, with each new arm requiring approximately $100 worth of filament, medical orthoplastic, and metal.
“If Project Daniel can surmount these challenges and scale up, it could transform the lives of tens of thousands of amputees in Sudan, and others around the world,” writes MakerBot’s Blake Eskin. “If you are moved to help, Project Daniel would welcome donations. And if you’re not moved yet, watch the video [above] produced by Not Impossible Labs, which shows Daniel’s wounds and his new prosthetics.”