Ivan Owen and Richard Van As, the puppeteer and carpenter, first developed a mechanical hand for the boy, Liam Dippenaar. Owen still remembers the moment Liam used the hand. “He bent his wrist and made his fingers curl. You could see the light bulb go off. He looked up and said, ‘It copies me!’ It was a really incredible moment,” Owen said.
Liam now plays with his new hand and is quickly learning how to use it.
Owen and Van As then collaborated with a 3D printing company to develop their design for printers. They have since published their design, called Robohand, on Thingiverse, a website dedicated to housing members’ 3D printing designs and offering them to the public for free downloading.
Now, anyone with a 3D printer can access and bioprint herself a prosthetic hand, solving the problem of affordability and accessibility of certain prosthetics. This will drastically impact the future of modern medicine.