AMS Spring 2023

What Disability? I’m a Super Hero! The 3D Printed Prosthetic Wolverine Hand is Here!

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Aaron Brown at MakerFaire in Grand Rapids, Michigane

Aaron Brown at MakerFaire in Grand Rapids, Michigane

Growing up, going to school, and socializing with friends are memories that will stick with us for life. Those are the times when we learn about friendships, find out who we truly are, and develop a feeling of empathy. Fact is, kids can be mean, for whatever reasons they are. Whether it is a desire to be “cool”, the need for attention, or just a general lack of being able to see things from another individual’s perspective, it’s a fact of life; kids will hurt other kids’ feelings.

What kids want most, when growing up, is to be considered “normal” and “cool” among their peers. They want to fit in more than anything else. Imagine being a child that is missing a hand on one of his/her arms. Imagine how difficult it must be for them to feel like they are “one of the gang”. For some, it may not be all that hard. Perhaps their personality is such that they attract the attention of others, and when asked about their missing hand, they use it to their advantage. I’ve seen this first hand (no pun intended) with a friend’s child, but every child is different, and some simply don’t have the personality traits to simply overcome tough questions and comments.

Wolverine Claws for Brown's hand

Wolverine Claws for Brown’s hand

This is where e-NABLE comes into play. We have covered countless stories where e-NABLE has provided sub $50 3D printed prosthetic hands and arms to children who are in need. They are a group of volunteers who could be considered the most incredible example of what happens when you combine volunteers, open source technology, and 3D printing in order to help others.

If you are familiar with e-NABLE, you know that there have been dozens, upon dozens of children who have received these prosthetic hands, most of which are extremely interesting in appearance, to say the least. They look rather robotic, and certainly garner the attention of classmates, and other children.

For one man, named Aaron Brown, this wasn’t enough. He wanted to add a dimension to the prosthetic hands, which hasn’t been done before. He wanted to create custom superhero hands, and to start off, he decided to make the world’s first 3D printed prosthetic Wolverine hand, since there was an upcoming MakerFaire in Grand Rapids, Michigan. For those who are unaware, Michigan’s college sports teams are known as the Wolverines.

wolvering3

So, Brown decided to 3D print a Cyborg Beast prosthetic hand, using traditional “Michigan colors” (blue and yellow), and then proceed to create short, rounded, plastic claws to Velcro onto the hand. The final result was quite phenomenal, and it garnered a tremendous amount of attention at the Grand Rapids MakerFaire, for obvious reasons.

“‘The major holy wow! That’s awesome!'” response the Wolverine hand received at the makerfaire, has totally inspired me to build more themed hands,” Brown told e-NABLE. “People’s faces just LIT UP! The kids went crazy over it. And don’t worry, the claws aren’t sharp! They are rounded plastic and just stick on and off with velcro. We don’t need to cut off more fingers just to promote e-NABLE!”

wolverine

Next, Brown has plans to create even more superhero prosthetic hands, including possibly Iron Man, Captain America and a Batman version of the Cyborg Beast. This isn’t all though, he also wants to target soldiers who have been wounded in the military, with specially theme adult-targeted hands as well. Brown also has plans to open a 3D print shop in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Surely he will have a few of these hands on display to attract visitors.

What do you think about this Wolverine hand? Which superhero hand would you like to see Brown create next? Discuss in the 3D printed Wolverine hand forum thread on 3DPB.com.

[image souce: Aaron Brown]

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