Jan 28, 2017 | By Tess

11-year-old Jordan Reeves, who last year made the world a bit jollier with her 3D printed, glitter-shooting prosthetic arm, has become a source of inspiration for many. The young and remarkably ambitious girl, who was born without most of her left arm (it stops just above the elbow), has been showing off her 3D printed glitter prosthetic all around the U.S. for the past several months, was presented with Disney’s Dream Big, Princess award, and was given a 3D printer courtesy of Autodesk and Dremel.

Not only is she receiving recognition, however, but Reeves has continued her steadfast work and is creating more 3D printed prosthetic accessories and assistive tools. Her latest project, for instance, is working on developing a device that combines a medical-grade prosthetic arm with 3D printed, changeable attachments. Though decidedly less sparkly than her first make, the hybrid prosthetic could allow for a variety of 3D printed attachments (like a hand or a pirate hook). Jordan is developing the 3D printed prosthesis with the help of her prosthetist and her Autodesk mentor Sam Hobish.

While many 3D printable prosthetic hand models do already exist, Reeves is one of many people who cannot use them, mainly because they mostly rely on wrist or elbow mobility, which she does not have. As Jordan’s mother Jen Reeves told Fast Company, “She came with the challenge because she and Sam were trying to figure out a way to use those standard 3D printed hands, and it got pretty aggravating. She realized that it was not possible with any of the current 3D-printed design concepts, since she doesn't have an elbow."

Jordan with her 3D printed glitter-shooting prosthetic

Fortunately, with the help of her long time prosthetist, David Rotter, the clinical director of prosthetics for Chicago-based Scheck & Siress, Jordan conceived of a traditional prosthetic arm with a connection at the wrist that can accommodate 3D printed extensions. To move and control the 3D printed hand, the user can simply move their shoulder to trigger a string that connects the 3D printed extension to a shoulder harness.

Jordan recently received her new prosthetic arm from Rotter, which came with a standard prosthetic hook, as well as a pirate hook. To connect her own 3D printed attachments to the arm, Jordan simply has to install a compatible screw mechanism. The 11-year-old demonstrated her new prosthetic arm at Kid Inventors’ Day in New York City last Tuesday.

"Where it gets fun is the pieces that can be made to put on the end of her prosthesis," commented Rotter. "That's really where I think we're going to have a good interaction between what I've made, what Jordan can conceptualize, and what perhaps Sam can help her produce, to see if this is something that's usable for her and provides her with sufficient utility.”

Still, Rotter believes there is a long way to go before fully 3D printed prosthetics will be viable at a professional level. Despite his reservations, however, he does see potential in combining medical prosthetics with 3D printed, DIY-style ones, like Jordan has. Additionally, as 3D printed prosthetic organizations such as e-NABLE continue to advance and improve upon 3D printed hand models, we can already see the gap between medical and 3D printed prosthetic devices shrinking.

For instance, Hobish, Jordan’s mentor and Autodesk employee, has been working with the Enable Community Foundation to develop a new software program called LimbForge that is capable of automatically scaling the size of 3D printed hand models based on user measurements. He says, “It does incorporate a lot of traditional prosthetics techniques when it comes to how we take the measurements and how we're working with the patients.”

One of the main appeals of 3D printing prosthetics is, of course, accessibility. While in prosperous nations people usually have insurance to help cover medical costs, in parts of the world where assistive devices are most needed—say in disaster stricken Haiti—they are expensive and difficult to come by. 3D printing could help to change this.

And while Jordan may still be a ways off from making hands for people across the world, she is determined to keep working and to keep inventing new helpful tools for herself and others. For instance, the 11-year-old is reportedly planning on making a portable tool that could help people with disabilities to use paper-towel dispensers more easily. At the same time as inventing, the young innovator will continue to advocate for children like herself, and will promote inclusiveness for all.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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Isabella jones wrote at 1/30/2017 5:02:33 AM:

This invention is totally AWESOME!!!! I wanna do something like this

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