Half a million children worldwide suffer from arm-related medical conditions, and 3D printing has already provided children and adults with customized 3D prostheses and orthotics for support. In the U.S. approximately 50,000 children have arm-related conditions, such as Spinal Muscular Atrophy and Muscular Dystrophy. There are groups, non-profit organizations, and medical initiatives to help address children’s needs in this area, so that kids suffering from these conditions have the same opportunities as other children.
Magic Arms is an example of one of these non-profit initiatives. Starting at Nemours Children’s Hospital in Delaware, a team used a Stratasys 3D printer to make a young girl named Emma a set of Magic Arms. A 3D-printed exoskeleton that children can use for support when participating in normal daily activities like playing, hugging, eating, and hygiene, Magic Arms work by balancing a child’s arm weight using a 3D-printed frame and resistance bands. All joints of the device have precision bearings, which allows arm strength to be amplified, and the device can be modified to accommodate natural growth and development and any new problems. The team knew it was on to something, and it developed a non-profit to get this device to more children in need.
Right now, there are 150 children on the Magic Arms waiting list for the devices, and 100 have already been the fortunate recipients of this amazing invention. In order to expand care and access, Magic Arms is running an Indiegogo campaign with 35 days left to raise $150,000 to set up care centers in UC Davis, Ca., New York City, and Orlando, Fl. They’d also like to open more care centers in Seattle, Dallas, and St. Louis, bringing the care center to seven total nationally.
Production costs for each set of Magic Arms is high right now at $7,000, and so another goal is for the exoskeleton arms to be redesigned to lower costs. The non-profit, which is working with Stratasys, also has the goal of providing arms to children without health insurance.
These are all very logical, and noble, goals for an organization (with access to a 3D printer) that started with a little girl’s needs for more independence. If the funds become accessible through a successful fundraising campaign, then they can establish the care centers in the U.S., redesign the exoskeleton model, and eventually expand past U.S. borders to deliver this much needed service to children all over the world!
The organization’s website is another valuable source of information, and you can read about the team, its partners, recent news, inspiring stories, and find out how to get Magic Arms for your child or loved one. You can also watch the informative video below, that tells the story of Magic Arms, and the dream of its founders and team who are looking to take this incredible device into the future for the children who need it. Let us know if you intend on contributing to this cause or already have. Discuss in the Magic Arms forum thread on 3DPB.com.