Apr 6, 2017 | By David
Three young makers, aged 11-17, recently demonstrated that age is no barrier to innovation in the 3D printing world, as they showed off their work at a showcase held by Autodesk.
The youngest of these 3D printing prodigies is 11-year old Jordan Reeves. Having used a prosthetic arm for most of her life, Jordan wanted to design a new prosthetic that could show other kids how much fun 3D printing can be. Her invention was a 3D printed arm that shoots glitter from five cylinders. Known as Project Unicorn, the arm was initially designed in March 2016 at a camp co-hosted by Autodesk and Bay Area nonprofit KidMob. A newer, more spectacular version of the arm has recently been completed, with the help of Autodesk’s Sam Hobish, who was conducting regular chat sessions over Google Hangouts with Jordan. The latest model uses a single canister of glitter, a rubber hose, and compressed air. According to Jordan, “Creating and building stuff is fun. Kids will make the future better if they start designing...The smallest things can make a big impact." Reeves has also been working on other 3D printed prosthetics, which you can read about here.
Jakob Sperry, 15, has always been a craftsman, forming a passion for woodworking at a young age. His father had access to a 3D printer at work, which is what got Jakob interested in trying out 3D design. He would email his plans to his father, and receive the finished 3D printed objects when he returned home. Suffering from ADHD, he was eventually led to turn his 3D expertise towards alleviating his symptoms, designing a "fidget toy" for his restless hands. Known as Gyrings, the toy consists of five concentric rings around a central sphere. Jakob found the plans on 3D design sharing platform Thingiverse, and tested out some prototypes on his classmates. "I knew I could improve the design, because it kind of hurt when you used it," he says. "Everyone else had a similar reaction.’’ The improved Gyrings are for sale on Jakob’s website, and in certain retail stores in Boston. He has sold around 1,000 of the toys so far, and a licensing deal with Ceaco means that they'll soon be available in Target, Barnes and Noble, and Wegmans.
3D printing wunderkind Alexis Lewis was destined to be an inventor, inheriting her passion for science from her grandfather who worked on the Apollo space programs. After reading a story about a mother who had to drop her child from the second-storey window of a burning building to save it from smoke inhalation, Alexis was spurred into action. She wanted to find a safer, more effective way to protect the lungs of someone trapped in a fire. Emergency masks are usually used in these situations, but getting the masks to those in danger isn’t possible until firefighters with protective equipment arrive on the scene.
All images credit: Jason Lederman
Alexis’ solution to this problem was to simply launch these masks through a window, and she tried a number of different methods to achieve this. After experimenting unsuccessfully with projectile launchers, similar to the T-shirt cannons used by sports mascots, she found that the most accurate throwing was in fact done by hand. 3D printed prototypes of hand projectiles were tested with firefighters until eventually settling on a football-shaped one, which is known as the Emergency Mask Pod. The pod contains the mask as well as a glowstick to help make the user more visible, and it can be thrown accurately through an open window 70 percent of the time (from a safe distance). After showing off the Emergency Mask Pod at a firefighters convention, Alexis is now working on getting it mass produced and distributed nationwide.
It’s great to see AutoDesk promoting the efforts of people outside the industry, particularly young people, and widening the scope of 3D printing technology as much as possible. All these projects have the potential to make real, positive change in society, and we can’t wait to see what else these talented youngsters will come up with in the future.
Posted in 3D Printing Events
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