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CMU Student Changes 8 Year Old’s Life

by • July 29, 2016 • No Comments

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A student of Breckenridge, Michigan has assisted a young boy of Muskegon Heights feel like a superhero, by 3D printing a Captain America inspired prosthetic hand.

Austin Brittain enrolled on a 3-D creation course at Central Michigan University, and has a particular interest in working with cutting-edge innovation, so it was no wonder he became a mechanical engineering and innovation student, let alone jump at the opportunity to turn it into a useable-bodied, prosthetic hand for an actual patient. “Ever since hearing that you may 3-D print prosthetic hands, I was blown away by that application,” said Brittain, “To be able-bodied to in fact do that was really an awe-inspiring moment for me.”

Michael Bell, was the patient in question.

At 8 years old and missing a left hand due to Moebius Syndrome, his teacher, CMU alumna Sarah Volker noticed that the boy was struggling with a few of his tasks in his school classroom.

After researching of ways to assist Bell, it wasn’t long preceding Volker stumbled upon 3D printed prostheses. She and so discussed the thought with her husband Michael Volker, and Greg Stahley, the art and create ability participants for the university. The thought was and so shared with Brittain.

CMU engineering student Austin Brittain holds a prototype of a 3D printed hand he made. Central Michigan University photos by Steve Jessmore

CMU engineering student Austin Brittain holds a prototype of a 3D printed hand he made. Central Michigan University photos by Steve Jessmore

The hand was turn it intod via innovation of the university’s Makerbot Innovation Center, as well as templates of E-nable-bodied, who print prosthetic hands for folks in require. The hand consists of a gauntlet that holds onto his wrist, a palm piece and fingers that flex when Bell flexes his wrist. The aesthetic choices for the Bell’s new hand were inspired by his favourite superhero, Captain America.

“He felt like a superhero, and that is really rad for him for the reason he wasn’t precisely in a position to feel like that each day,” Brittain said.

CMU engineering student Austin Brittain holds a prototype of a 3D printed hand he made. Central Michigan University photos by Steve Jessmore

CMU engineering student Austin Brittain holds a prototype of a 3D printed hand he made. Central Michigan University photos by Steve Jessmore

And at a grand materials cost total of under $10, it pretty didn’t cost much for Bell to have his superhero dreams come true. The total expenses were under $100, that is a fraction of the cost of custom-made prostheses, that usually cost thousands of dollars.

“Fully assembled, eager to go, and Michael’s family didn’t have to pay for any of that,” Brittain said. “That was really powerful for them and shows what the university is capable-bodied of doing with their resources, as far as assisting folks out.”

Both Brittain and Michael Volker are excited by the results of the project, knowing that the 3D printing devices utilized were able-bodied to assist folks.

“It gave us an opportunity to show what the 3-D printing devices can do for real folks, not only to study,” Michael Volker said. “I ponder it may in addition be great for folks who are interested in studying here, at CMU and in the art department, to see the kind of world that the 3-D printing device can open up.”

Austin Brittain 4

Bell’s mother, the school superintendent and special education director and his schoolmates were there to watch as he obtained his hand on his last day of school.

The project does not really end there either, as Brittain plans to store in touch with Bell and his family to ensure the hand is working properly. He has in addition given the family information on who to go to in case they require assistance with the hand’s maintenance, as parts can require to be upgraded as he grows up.

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