Jan 12, 2018 | By David

We reported just over a year ago on the remarkable story of 3D printing child genius Cameron Haight of North Carolina. The four-year-old boy suffered from a condition known as amniotic band syndrome, which meant that some of the fingers on his right hand were fused together. He was able to regain some dexterity with the help of a special 3D printed prosthetic hand, and soon he was able to help create similar 3D printed prosthetics for other disabled children. Now aged five, Cameron has created a total of 44 prosthetics for kids in the U.S, Canada and Japan.

Last time we heard from him, Cameron had helped to make nine 3D printed prosthetic hands, so he’s been incredibly busy since the end of 2016. As impressive and inspirational as his achievements have been, Cameron hasn’t been working alone. He has had the help of his mother Sarah, 32, as well as the non-profit organization e-NABLE, which initially provided the prosthetic hand Cameron is now so proud of.

It was when a few parts broke off Camerons’ own orange-and-blue, Finding Nemo-themed prosthetic hand from e-NABLE that he and Sarah decided to experiment with 3D printing technology. Moving on from creating replacement parts, they eventually started to print full hands, assembling and sending these away to help other people have the same kind of transformational experience Cameron had.

''Before, whenever we went out or were around new people, he would cover his hand, no matter how much we encouraged him to love his hands and was shy about it if we asked him to show someone or someone inquired about it'', says Sarah. ''Having a 3D hand has taken all the stigma away from his limb difference and given him a positive spin on it, now he really enjoys showing off his differences.''

The mother-son team currently have six more kids and one adult on their waiting list, sending measurements and designs back and forth with them in order to keep up their life-changing work. They recently set up their own non-profit organization in order to raise funds to make their project even larger in scale.

Being a prosthetic user has given Cameron remarkable design abilities, as he intuitively knows what kind of functionality is required and what would be the most comfortable fit. According to Sarah, ''I can sit for hours trying to come up with an idea and draw a blank, but when I ask Cam, he is just able to come up with ideas right away - I guess that's where he has an advantage over me. He's living with a limb difference and using the hand almost daily, so he knows what things will be helpful... He goes on the printer, finds the files, sizes, scales and prints them, then we assemble them - it's really fun to watch him in action.''

Cameron continues to improve his own 3D printed prosthetic hand, and his latest creation is known as the Invention Tool 5000. It allows him to hold a pencil and write much more easily, as well as carry out a whole range of other tasks, and it was again a result of his design ingenuity. ''Cameron spent up to 40 minutes on the drawing and then we tweaked it over a couple of days, then had to put it into design software, all in all it took a week to design and create'’, says Sarah. ''It can be used for holding a cell phone, to strap a water bottle to the residual arm, to hold scissors, spatulas and more, as well as holding a nerf gun.''

Since his birth in 2012, surgeons have carried out a number of operations on Cameron in order to separate his fused fingers, but with limited success. With the help of 3D printing technology, this unfortunate situation has also turned out to be an opportunity for him to learn a useful new skill, to create his own unique identity, and to help out other people suffering from similar conditions. According to Sarah, ''knowing my little boy is now making hands that are changing other people's lives, just as his hand has changed his life, is just an incredible thing to be apart of.''



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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