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9-Year-Old Boy Designs His Own 3-D Printed Prosthetic Hand

Aiden Robinson with lego prosthetic hand-screenshot

Aiden Robinson has worn a prosthetic hand of some sort since he was a baby. Some have worked better than others for him, but they had to be replaced frequently as Aiden grew, and the most functional myoelectric prosthetics aren’t often available or are too expensive for children.

Robinson, along with nine other kids with upper limb loss recently attended a week-long Superhero Cyborg Camp, run by KIDmob, a San Francisco nonprofit organization. The goal of this design education workshop is to teach design, problem-solving & prototyping skills. Aiden focused on designing a highly adaptable prosthetic limb that allows him to do what he needs it to do. Coby Unger, an Artist in Residence at 3D software maker Autodesk was so impressed with Aiden’s project he offered to help to refine Aiden’s prototype.

This collaboration between a child and a professional maker has resulted in a better overall prosthetic. Unger created a version of the prototype that could be remolded and reshaped to grow with Robinson, and used materials commonly found at hardware or sporting goods stores. He made polished versions of Robinson’s Wii remote controller and fork, and also helped developed other ideas. The life-size LEGO hand attachment that Robinson presented at camp was revised into a hooked hand with the same interlocking bumps as a LEGO set so he can build out new ideas using the popular block sets.

I absolutely love to discover real-world stories like this. It demonstrates how we need to foster the creative collaborative opportunities that are the foundation of innovation we need in the coming decades.

UPDATE: Coby Unger has added a link in the Comments to his ‘how-to’ article on Instructables, detailing how he worked with Aiden to develop his prosthetic. It’s a must read.

The Boy With the Lego Hand via The Atlantic

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