By Alec | 3Ders
Fortunately for children the world over, 3D printing is making some wonderful steps the field of prosthetics. Not only are hand and arm prosthetics becoming more available, they are also becoming more affordable: instead of a $50,000 medical bill, printing and constructing an open-source prosthetic only costs parents some $50 in filament. But more importantly, these prosthetics are also made as fun as possible, to enable children to be children.
Especially the wonderful team behind E-Nable has been doing amazing work in this respect, by making 3D printed prosthetics in cool and fun shapes available to as many children as possible. We've already shared a number of wonderful E-Nable projects, but perhaps the coolest one so far is their 3D printed Wolverine prosthetic, that easily functions as a toy as well. For once, it's time for the healthy children to be jealous of those with disabilities.
However, strap on your Avengers fan gear, as Iron Man is now also coming to town and his creator Pat Starace means business. While not affiliated with E-Nable, he is doing similar and wonderful work with this tribute to perhaps the most suitable superhero for a prosthetic creation.
As Pat explained in the YouTube clip about this awesome creation, he had three goals in mind for his child-sized Iron Man Prosthetic: Firstly, it had to look awesome (check!), secondly it had perform awesome (check!) and finally it would have to be compact, so no visible strings or mechanics could damage the visual impact (check!).
As can be seen in the video below, the results are simply amazing. Not only is this prosthetic functional and beautiful, it's also a technological masterpiece. When the child bends his arm downwards, the fingers close, and the other way around, just like many prosthetics.
However, this Iron Man tribute is anything but a normal prosthetic. It comes with functioning lights in the palm to represent the hero's thrusters. Pat even made the extra effort to allow the fingers to lock into Iron Man's iconic thruster pose. There's also enough room to house a number of electronic devices; his current set-up involves an Arduino operating system, a battery, Bluetooth and a USB charger alongside the lights. However, he promises that just about any set-up is possible, including voice activation sensors. What child wouldn't want this as a toy?
As Pat explained on his website, the whole idea behind this cool prosthetic aiding children through daily life:
How can we help a child that faces everyday challenges with a disability? My answer is to give them the most awesome prosthetic hand, and raise their self-esteem to Super Hero Levels. The vision was to create a hand, so that a child can have something that solves a mechanical challenge, is affordable, and mostly Looks Awesome!
And he clearly succeeded with this wonderfully inspiring and absolutely awesome creation. While this cool Iron Man hand is still in a prototyping phase, Pat is working to make his files available to all, Parents and children in need can contact him for the designs through his web site. Let's hope that many more awesome prosthetics will follow.
Also check out Pat's full video on his Iron Man Prosthetic:
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