Liam is a 5-year-old South African boy who was born without fingers on his right hand. When his mother stumbled upon the work of two prosthetic hobbyists and shared this story, they went on to create a new hand for the boy, using a 3D printer, bits of cable, bungee cord and rubber thimbles.
This life-changing "Robohand" was created by part-time mechanical special effects artist Ivan Owen, and woodworker Rich Van As. Since fitting this, Liam has been able to pick up coins, throw a basketball and push a shopping trolley, all with an amazing Meccano-esque construction for a hand! What's more amazing is that Ivan and Rich live thousands of miles apart in Washington and South Africa, meaning this project was done remotely.
It presents a low-cost alternative, which mas been made into an open source assistive technology. They hope the innovations used in this hand will help others in the same situation. To put this 'cost' into perspective, standard prosthetics can cost upwards of $10,000, whereas this small construction sets you back just a few hundred dollars.
The Robohand is now available on Thingiverse and a fundraising page has been set up, with an influx of interest in the technology. This open source nature has already resulted in some improvements over the last few days, including the addition of a bungee anchor, extra mounting holes on the thumb hand for extra adjustment, and many others.
Massively excited to see what other innovations happen in this area of low-cost prosthetics.