3D Printing to the Rescue – Innovative 9-Year-Old Designs and Prints His Own Hand

3D printing is capable of creating virtually anything, from parts for satellites and the International Space Station to toys and games. It’s also an important technology in the prosthetics industry.

Most prosthetics produced through 3D printing are designed and created by companies. However, one nine-year-old boy took things into his own hands, in a very literal sense. He designed and printed his own prosthetic hand.

About Aidan Robinson

Born without his left hand or lower left arm, Aidan Robinson is no stranger to prosthetics. He’s used a range of different options during his nine years of life.

However, he felt he could do things a little better and turned to 3D printing technology to help him do that. Most prosthetics are designed for mass appeal – they’re designed to do things like open doors, or turn on and off the lights.

But what about the tasks a child finds crucial, like playing with Legos or gaming?

How He Learned the Tricks of the Trade

Aidan didn’t jump right into designing and printing. He got inspiration from Superhero Cyborg Camp, a workshop put on by KIDmob, designed just for kids like Aidan – those who are missing limbs, either from birth or as the result of an accident. It was here that Aidan first learned the basics of designing 3D objects, and how to apply those designs to 3D printing.

Drawing on the help, support, advice and guidance of prosthetics developers and volunteers, Aidan created something unique – a prosthetic hand that could do everything he wanted to do on a daily basis and more. The secret of his design is the interchangeable components.

He simply has to attach the right adapter to the base, and he can do everything from eating a bowl of cereal to playing video games to playing the violin. Even with all that effort, Aidan’s design might have been little more than a decorative art object if it weren’t for the help of Coby Unger, an Autodesk designer.

Unger thought so much of Aidan’s design that he volunteered his time to refine those designs and bring them to life. Today, Aidan owns one of the most multifunctional 3D printed prosthetics in the world.

Getting It Right

The story of Aidan Robinson and his amazing hand exemplify exactly what is so great about 3D printing and the design industry. It’s got all the elements of a great story – a young protagonist dealt a bad blow by life and chance, his struggles to overcome adversity, the kindness of strangers, and a happy ending.

It’s about more than that, though. 3D printing has the capability of becoming an incredible technology with applications for almost every area of life, but it’s also the ideal place to foster dreams and ideas, where kids and adults alike can birth their imaginings into the real world and do cool things while having fun at the same time.

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