After Ben Ryan’s son Sol had his left arm amputated shortly after birth, he was told it would be a year before the baby could be fitted with a plastic prosthetic arm, but another three before he could wear an electric one which moved. That was just too long. So, Ben left his job as a psychology lecturer and set out to create a prosthetic arm using a 3D printer. And that is exactly what he did!
Here’s the technology behind it: inspired by spiders, whose legs move using hydraulics, it’s a simple fluid pressure pad which is ‘squashed’ by Sol’s elbow bone. The fluid is sent down a pipe into a bellow, which operates a lever and opens the finger and thumb grip.
‘By encouraging him to use both arms during this period of early brain development, we believed Sol would become more likely to adopt prosthetics later on,’ Dad explained. He also went on to complain that the thinking on prosthetics for babies is in its Victorian Era.
Ben has since set up a new firm, Ambionics, to concentrate on prosthetics full time. As for Sol, he is doing everything a child his age should be, thanks to that 3D printed arm.
Source: Daily Mail