Jun 29, 2017 | By Tess

Atomic Lab, a Buenos Aires based startup founded by maker Gino Tubaro, has provided hundreds of children in Argentina with low-cost 3D printed prosthetic hands that have enabled them to play sports, draw, and perform a number of other valuable activities.

(Image: Facebook)

As we’ve seen, 3D printing technologies have opened the doors for cheaper, customized, and overall more accessible prosthetics. Organization such as e-NABLE have consistently shown that you do not necessarily require deep pockets to get a functional prosthetic limb, and that kids especially can benefit from having 3D printed hands.

In Argentina, it is 21-year-old Gino Tubaro who seems to be leading the way for accessible 3D printed prosthetics, as his innovative work was even recognized by Barack Obama, who visited Argentina last year.

Gino Tubaro with a 3D printer he built

(Image: AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

Tubaro, who says he’s been a tinkerer and inventor since he was a young child, seems to have found his calling with 3D printing. He 3D printed his first prosthetic hand in 2014 while he was still in high school for a woman whose child was missing a limb.

Fast-forward to now, and Tubaro has helped over 500 people regain mobility with 3D printed prosthetics, and has 4,500 more waiting to obtain their own custom prosthetics. Tubaro’s platform, Atomic Lab, uses a similar system to e-NABLE in that it uses a network of volunteers from around the world who either own or have access to 3D printers.

8-year-old Kaori Misue with her 3D printed Wonder Woman prosthetic

(Image: AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

Through the Atomic Lab website, people can request a prosthesis, which can be customized for size, style, and function (for riding a bike or holding a fork, for instance). From there, a local volunteer will be tasked with 3D printing the pieces for the hand, assembling, and delivering it. Compared to traditional medical-grade prosthetics which can cost over ten thousand dollars, the 3D printed hands can be made for as little as $15.

"It's a wonderful experience because we're getting photos of kids using the prostheses in Thailand, Mexico, Egypt...doing things that they couldn't do before," said Tubaro, who is in his second year of electrical engineering studies at the National Technological University in Buenos Aires.

(Image: AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko)

Atomic Lab, which is funded through donations and award money, is even capable of making themed prosthetics, to suit each kid’s interests. For instance, eight-year-old Kaori Misue, who was born without fingers on her left hand, has a red and blue superhero themed prosthetic which reminds her of Wonder Woman.

Tubaro also says he can make a Batman-themed design that can throw plastic disks, or a Iron Man hand which can shoot rubber bands. The possibilities seem endless.

Karina Misue, Kaori’s mother, was overjoyed with her daughter’s 3D printed prosthetic hand. “It was magical,” she said. “The confidence it gives kids is tremendous. They’re using it with pride.”

 

 

Posted in 3D Printing Application

 

 

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