South African carpenter Richard Van As has conceived and helped design Robohand, a prosthesis created using the Maker Bot 3D printer. Richard, who lost four fingers from his right hand in a work accident, developed the prosthesis with the help of American mechanical props designer Ivan Owen.
Using a Replicator 2 desktop 3D printer, donated by Makerbot, the two were able to work on the prototypes from separate continents. Van As says “[The Makerbot] dramatically increased the speed at which we could prototype and try out ideas, and gave us the ability to both hold a physical copy of the exact same thing, even though we were separated by 10,000 miles.”
Robohand can be easily replaced as the child grows. Van As explains “All we do is scale it up and print him another one, and the hardware just gets taken from that and put on the new hand.” The outgrown hands can be worn by smaller children.
You can find out more about the project, and how to help fund it here.
You can find out more about Makerbot here.