Sunday 23 November 2014

3D printing: giving a hand to the world

This is what happens when two men decide to NOT patent their invention, to NOT monopolize and hide their invention away in secrecy, to NOT to fear the "establishment" who might not like their choices. Instead to choose to insure that what they are doing is accessible to anyone anywhere....

For too long we have lived in a world of greed and control. For too long we have been blinded by the rhetoric that any new invention must be protected by patents and lawyers, must be hoarded by those who have a blinding need to absolutely control every piece of it.  It has been programmed into our society for generation after generation.  It is yet another template that has been perpetuated into our society for eons.  If you have an invention, you must register it and "protect" it. Yet in doing so, you immediately loose control and enter into the realms of  the corporate template: where money talks, and nothing else matter except profit margins and market shares.  "Helping" anyone comes in last place behind making every buck possible.

This isn't to say that making money from an invention is bad.  Far from it- even inventors need to support themselves and their families.

Now is the time to create a new paradigm in which inventors and innovators can receive  recognition for their passion, and value for their efforts to bring their dreams forward to the global stage.  When they can come out of hiding and can work together with the world to enhance all aspect of life on this planet. 

Isn't it time that we stopped glorifying the mindless focus on TV stars, superbowl/world cup/world series over paid athletes, poptart starlets, and "reality" media shows, and fake News?   Isn't it time that we focused our attention on the people who are actually DOING something to improve our lives and happiness?

We are living in an incredible moment in "time"- when technology is finally catching up to our imaginations, and allowing the "average" person to explore what can be done to make life better & easier, and focus on creating  truly amazing things- out of love, NOT fear.

This is a story that will warm your heart and hopefully inspire everyone reading it to see the world a little bit differently, and restore a bit of faith in all that humanity can do.

Man Makes 3D Printed Prosthetic Hand For Son For Only $10

November 5, 2013 | by Lisa Winter
Photo credit: CBS Evening News
Thanks to 3D printing, high quality prosthetic limbs are cheaper and easier to obtain than ever before. 

Twelve-year-old Leon McCarthy has been missing fingers on his left hand since birth due to lack of blood flow during his development. within the womb. Traditional prosthetic units to help people like Leon can run tens of thousands of dollars. In search of a cost-effective alternative, Leon’s father discovered a YouTube video by inventor Ivan Owen. Owen and Richard Von As from Johannesberg, South Africa began to collaborate on a high quality, low cost 3D printed prosthetic (which has already been covered by IFLScience). Because Owen and Van As do not hold a patent or charge to download the plans for the hand, the cost of materials is all that is required. 

Despite the materials being inexpensive, 3D printers still carry a hefty price tag. Fortunately, Leon’s school owns a 3D printer and made it available. With only $10 in material and about 20 minutes with the printer, Leon now has a new “cyborg” hand with fingers able to close, which he sees as “special, not different.” The fingers are controlled by flexing the wrist, which pulls on cable “tendons” to close around the desired object.

Leon is now able to grasp his backpack handle, hand a snack to a friend, and even grip the handlebars on his bike just like any other kid with two hands. As Leon grows up, Paul will merely have to print another device to accommodate the larger wrist. Because the hands are so inexpensive to build, the two have been able to tweak different designs in order to find something to better suit Leon’s needs.

3-D Printing Gives Helping Hand for Children

September 4, 2013 | by Lisa Winter
Photo credit: MakerBot
Necessity is often the mother of invention. After losing some of his fingers after a carpentry accident in the spring of 2011, Richard Van As in Johannesburg, South Africa began to research prosthetics. All of the available units that fit his needs cost several thousand dollars, which was unfortunately outside of his price range. Determined, he decided to develop an alternative prosthetic and soon realized he would need help in the endeavor.

After searching on the internet, Van As came across American puppeteer Ivan Owen. Owen had crafted intricate puppet hands with fingers that could bend through small steel cables which acted like tendons. Van As approached Owen with his project, and the two began to collaborate from opposite sides of the Earth. They spent countless hours emailing one another and talking on Skype, and Owen ultimately decided to go to South Africa so they could finish the prototype together.

Before the unit was even finished, a mother approached them about helping her five-year-old child who did not have fingers due to a birth defect known as amniotic band syndrome. This condition causes fibrous bands to wrap around digits or limbs, cutting off circulation to the distal part. It is estimated that up to eighty percent of newborns who have been affected by this disorder have deformed fingers or hands, and fifty percent also have other deformities such as a club foot or cleft palate. The two men did not hesitate and told the mother they would do everything they could to help.

The first working prototype was crafted out of aluminum and included thin cables which attached to the wrist, which was not completely unlike Owen’s puppets. The young boy could easily flick his wrist and see his new fingers bend; a sensation he had never known before.

Though Van As and Owen were very happy about their success, they decided to take things one step further to see if the devices could be manufactured more efficiently. Owen contacted the 3-D printing company MakerBot looking for assistance, and the company was happy to oblige in the form of a free 3-D printer. While their first aluminum hand took over a week to get just right, the printer can do it in 20 minutes.

They have helped fit over 100 children with these devices and have never accepted payment, not even for the parts. Additionally, the plans for the devices have been made available online for free. Anyone who needs a hand can have one for about $150 in parts. Stringing the wires in the hands can be a bit tricky, so a new design is in the works. Materials for this design cost only $5 and the pieces will snap together like LEGO bricks.

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