Just like any other young boy his age, 11-year-old Felipe Miranda rides his bicycle around the neighborhood to pass time.
But there’s one major difference that sets him apart from his friends…
One that makes it possible for him to even ride at all.
You see, while he grips the handlebar as normal with his two hands, his left hand isn’t actually “his.”
He’s getting a little extra help, thanks to a remarkable piece of technology.
One of his hands is a prosthetic, but it’s far from your usual type. You see, industrial designer Gonzalo Sanchez, along with his colleagues, make all types of objects with a 3D printer by using metal, plastic and other raw materials.
The latest object on their to-do list was a 3D printed hand, which they made in a studio right in Buenos Aires. What was once considered the unthinkable changed after Felipe’s mother contacted them. Gonzalo explains the conversation:
“She asked us if we’d be able to help her and we told her that we’d look into it. We started doing tests until we were able to modify some things, and by interchanging pieces, we could create the hand that Felipe is now able to use.”
What’s more, the specialists gave the boy’s mother a huge discount…
The Ultimate Helping Hand
If Felipe’s mother went the conventional route, a prosthetic would cost about $40,000. But the specialists gave a “helping hand” an incredible new meaning by giving her a deal for just $200.
Now, while Felipe’s new attachment isn’t as sophisticated as the $40,000 alternative, it does the job – as he opens and closes the hand by moving his wrist back and forth. It also gives him the other pleasures of life that some take for granted, like petting his dog.
But Felipe isn’t the only elated one; his mother, Ivana, is, too – having discovered an affordable life-changing tool for her son:
“Many people like us maybe don’t have the resources to search for [a new hand], or don’t know where to look, so now this provides a new option.”
Ultimately, Gonzalo just turned 3D printing into an entirely new ballgame. Plus, with the technology being more accessible and so inexpensive, it opens up many more opportunities for designers and scientists – maybe even helping someone else like Felipe.
In fact, Argentina isn’t the only place pioneering remarkable new prosthetic technology for the human hand. Check out this Danish bionic hand that Tech & Innovation Daily’s Editor-in-Chief, Martin Denholm, previously covered.
One thing is for certain in this case: The term “life-changing technology” fits perfectly.
Ahead of the tape,
Tech & Innovation Daily Research