10 incredible prosthetics made with 3D printers
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Exo prosthetic leg
This prosthetic was printed using titanium through selective laser sintering (SLS) technology. To customize it, the Behance team used FitSocket, a technology that was developed by the Biomechatronics lab at MIT that captures leg tissue properties to allow a better fit.
In 2013, there was an inspiring collaboration between a man in South Africa and a prop designer in the US. They worked together to build the Robohand, a prosthetic hand using MakerBot’s Thingiverse platform for design and Replicator 2 desktop 3D printer. It’s a mechanical hand, completely 3D printed for much cheaper than a traditional prosthetic would normally cost.
A boy named Daniel from Sudan had his arms blown off when he was 14. Mick Ebeling, founder of Not Impossible Labs, saw an article in Time Magazine about Daniel, and traveled to Sudan with 3D printers, spools of plastic, and a goal to build a prosthetic arm for him. He made the arm using a 3D printer, and watched Daniel feed himself for the first time in two years. Ebeling then taught the village locals how to make the prosthetics themselves so the project could continue.
Derby the dog
Derby the dog was born with disabled legs. He was being fostered by Tara Anderson, who happened to work at 3D Systems. So the 3D Systems team built Derby prosthetic legs, and the story went viral. Derby now runs two to three miles a day.
Easton LaChappelle, a 19 year old who works for NASA, 3D printed a prosthetic arm for a young girl who needed one, and it cost $400. Then he decided to take it a step further. LaChappelle launched a Kickstarter campaign for a robotic arm he designed for the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair. The first version was a wireless hand controlled by a glove and sensors. Now, he has a GoFundMe campaign to build a robotic arm that operates in conjunction with the user’s mind. He’s trying to expand the program to make prosthetic creation open source so people can use it as a STEM learning tool.
Prosthetics for Uganda
A team led by Matt Ratto at the University of Toronto has been working for more than a year to bring 3D printing technology to Uganda. They want to develop the skills locally and teach the communities how to 3D print missing limbs.
Limbitless Solutions is a growing engineering company that works on printing new bionic arm designs. This little boy, who lives in Florida, was 3D printed an arm after just weeks of prototyping by the Limbitless Solutions team.
This organization started as a couple of guys trying to figure out how to help one person, but it has since grown into a worldwide network of 3D printing enthusiasts, engineers, and makers. They help people build their own devices, and they also print devices and prosthetics for them.
Limbs with Love
Meghana Reddy is a high school student in San Diego who makes prosthetic hands with her 3D printer and sends them to people in need. She does it through her own nonprofit organization called Limbs With Love.
Storm trooper arm
A really nice guy named John Peterson printed a storm trooper arm for a young boy from Georgia who is a huge Star Wars fan. He did it with the help of E-Nable, which is a group of volunteers who prints arms and hands for children. The arm was presented by the 501st Legion, a group of avid Star Wars fans.