One of the most popular applications for 3D printing technology turns out to be in the field of prosthetics and orthotics, where people can have artificial limbs custom-designed and 3D printed to fit their exact specifications. As the technology gets more popular, there are more opportunities to have more people outfitted with relatively inexpensive prosthetic devices, and this also serves as a chance for others to learn more about medical needs in the U.S. and abroad.
One example of such an opportunity is a Wilmington, Delaware Cub Scout troop that has recently received an education in both 3D printing technology and human kindness. Let’s face it, there are tons of cool technology projects out there intended to capture young people’s imaginations, but not all of them have a direct social impact. In this case, the social impact of this Cub Scout project is immense: the scouts designed and 3D printed four separate hands that were sent to Haitian children in need, and they were also able to make one for a friend at home, too.
According to pack leader Rebecca Grieco, the troop 3D printed the hand parts, and then they had to raise their own money for tools to help assemble the hands. While the scouts were excited to be able to provide hands to children living far away in Haiti, they were also able to witness the direct impact of their work right at home. Grieco’s son Frankie, also a member of the troop, has been living his whole life without a hand. His mother explained that missing a hand has caused social, emotional, and physical challenges for Frankie as he gets older, and now, his new 3D printed hand allows him to do many more things that he previously missed out on.
“It will help me ride my bike and do the monkey bars and hold a bag of chips and eat,” says Frankie.
Cub Scout Matt Newhouse is very empathetic toward his friend’s situation:
“He’s gone through tough stages and we are helping him out by making him a hand as well to have him have an easier life,” he says.
Homemade cards accompanied the hands that the scouts sent to Haiti, which were carefully double-checked by the scouts before shipping them. Since the scouts were able to see what an incredible impact a new 3D printed hand has had for their own friend, it is not difficult to imagine how the hands will benefit the Haitian children.
Through participation in this project, these scouts have learned valuable lessons about how emerging technologies, like 3D printing, can directly help people. Given that one of the Cub Scout members was a fortunate recipient of a hand, they are not likely to forget about how it feels to help others anytime soon. They will surely be reminded about this each time they are able to share a fist bump or high five with their friend with the new 3D printed hand. You can watch the below video to see more about how excited the scouts are about the project. Discuss further over in the Boy Scouts 3D Print Prosthetics forum at 3DPB.com.[Source: CBS]
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