2-year-old Emma was born with arthrogryposis multiplex congenita (AMC). She was born with her legs folded up by her ears, her shoulders turned in. "She could only move her thumb," says Megan Lavelle, her mother. The parents were determined to provide the daughter the best care, so Emma spent much of her first two years in casts or undergoing surgery.
At a Philadelphia conference for AMC families, Emma's mother Megan Lavelle learned about the Wilmington Robotic Exoskeleton (WREX), an assistive device made of hinged metal bars and resistance bands. It enables AMC kids with underdeveloped arms to play, feed themselves and hug. But WREX worked for kids as young as six - Emma was two.
Tariq Rahman, Ph.D, head of pediatric engineering and research, and Whitney Sample, research designer, both from Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital worked together to scale the device down in size and weight for Emma.
However the parts would be too small and too detailed for the workshop's CNC system to fabricate. Instead using a Stratasys Dimension 3D Printer at Sample's workshop, they 3D printed a prototype WREX in ABS plastic. This smaller WREX can be attached to a little plastic vest and little Emma calls it "magic arms."
(Whitney Sample, Research Design Engineer, Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children, with pieces of the custom robotic exoskeleton.)
It is so light-weighted that Emma can wear it at home, at preschool, and during occupational therapy. Sample says: "To be a part of that little special moment for someone else, can't help but tug at your heart strings."
"Some of our world's greatest ideas are being 3D-printed," says Scott Crump, chairman and CEO of Stratasys. "Engineers want their technical work to connect to a greater good, and 3D printing is helping them bring their ideas to fruition to improve lives and the world around us. As more people become aware of the possibilities of 3D printing, its impact outside of traditional manufacturing and design realms will continue to grow."
Images / Source: Stratasys
Posted in 3D Printing Applications
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steve cooley wrote at 8/2/2012 7:20:11 PM: