3D Printing a Robotic Prosthetic for 6-Year Old Boy
3D Printing Prosthetics
Engineering Students at the University of Central Florida (UCF) engaged in some social innovation when they were able to develop a robotic arm for 6-year-old Alex Pring, using a Stratasys Dimension Elite 3D Printer.
Alex Pring was born without a right arm, but like any kid his age, wanted to climb trees, play, and interact with his peers. This was a challenge worth undertaking for a small group of students at UCF and the help of 3D printing technology. The students designed and printed the arm, and choose 3D printing for its quick turnaround, durable material, and design freedom which was especially necessary for a growing child.
|Aerospace engineering Ph.D. student and Fulbright Scholar Albert Manero is a volunteer at E-Nable, a network of 3D Printing enthusiast’s whose goal is to develop 3D Printed prosthetic hands for those who need them. Alex and his family met Manero through the E-Nable online network. Manero, along with his team, dedicated seven weeks to the prosthetic design project. The Dimension Elite 3D Printer delivered rapid design iterations during the process and the Ivory ABS M-30 Material used was strong, yet light enough for Alex to easily move.|
“He learned to use the prosthetic fast,” Manero said. “When he could control it, the first thing he did was hug his mother. He said it was their first real hug. There wasn’t a dry eye in the room.
“I think 3D Printing is revolutionizing our world in many ways. I believe changing the world of prosthetics is very real,” adds Manero. “Stratasys tools with UCF ingenuity will change the world.” The UCF team will continue to look for new ways to improve their design. As Pring gets older, the team will be able to 3D print a larger arm for a fraction of the cost of traditional prosthetics. “I can shake two hands at once,” Pring joked.
The team from University of Central Florida plans to publish the design files online and make them available for public access with instructions to 3D Print it so more lives can be transformed.
“3D Printing is changing the way prosthetics are designed and produced in ways previously not possible,” notes Gilad Gans, president, Stratasys North America. “It’s a remarkable feeling when you see how 3D Printing gives a kid the chance to live a happy life like other kids.”
Related Prosthetics Projects
The Open Hand Project
Project Daniel from Not Impossible Labs
RoboHand Project From MakerBot Industries
3D Printing Prosthetics, A Talk by Matt Ratto from the Critical Make Labs in Toronto at TEDxUofT
The New Bionics That Let Us Run, Climb, and Dance, A Talk by Hugh Herr from the MIT Media Lab at TED 2014