Twenty-first century technology has given rise to unimaginable feats, including the ability for 3D printing! For those of you who might not know what exactly 3D printing is, it's exactly what it sounds like! During 3D printing, special printers controlled by computers layer hot plastic according to the computerized design until a super awesome 3D object pops out! You can essentially print anything: gears, shoes, busts, guitars, skateboards, etc. So, why not a prosthetic hand?
That's exactly what mechanical designer and animator Pat Starace thought when he decided to create a functional prosthetic Iron Man hand designed specifically for disabled children. His goal is to make the child feel like an awesome super hero while also addressing a physical mechanical problem.
From his personal website, Starace stated that "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!
1) It had to look awesome
2) It had to perform awesome
3) Hide all the strings, so nothing distracts from the magic."
In addition to the awesomeness, a 3D printed hand costs $5 to $35, which is a heck of a lot better than the potential $100,000 that a traditional prosthetic would cost. Sounds pretty good to me!
The hand is easy to use too; simply flex the wrist to close the fingers and relax to open. To make things even cooler, the hand essentially acts as a casing that holds "micro-controllers, a variety of wireless devices, smart watches, sensors, accelerometers, NFC technology...everything a geeky kid might need..." And what's Iron Man without Jarvis? Not to worry! Starace's design includes Jarvis (voice) activated LED lights that simulate Iron Man's iconic hand thrusters.
Although Starace is currently still working on the design and negotiating partnerships, hopefully some day soon we'll have lots of little Iron Mans ready to save the day!
What other awesome hero hands should Starace design? Let me know your ideas by commenting below! :D