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'Magic Arms' give a little girl use of her limbs
Just an awesome story related to my field of study. Thought some of you might enjoy it as well! Confusedmile:

3D-printed 'magic arms' give little girl new reach
Quote:Thanks to 3D-printed plastic appendages, 4.5-year-old Emma Lavelle now plays with blocks.

Born with a rare neuromuscular condition called Arthrogryposis Multiplex Congenita that causes contracted joints and muscle weakness, Emma has almost nonexistent biceps that cannot move against gravity. Her "magic arms," as she has dubbed them, change that.

The plastic appendages attach to a Wilmington Robotic Exoskeleton (WREX) developed at the Center for Orthopedics Research and Development at Delaware's Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children. The WREX is a modular body-powered upper-limb orthosis generally mounted to a wheelchair.

"The existing WREX is all metal parts and is kind of big," Tariq Rahman, a mechanical engineer and head of pediatric engineering and research at Nemours, explains in the video below. "Emma was too small for that, so it required something light and small that would attach to her body that would go with her."

That something comes in the form of a durable little custom body jacket and lightweight 3D-printed plastic appendages. The limbs sport resistance bands on the upper arms and forearms, along with hinged joints that provide a sense of flotation that assists in voluntary movement and allow Emma to move her own arms in space.

While the WREX has been a commercial product sold by JAECO Orthopedics for around seven years, Emma was the first to wear one augmented with 3D-printed parts. Rahman, research design engineer Whitney Sample, and team printed Emma's setup from a Stratasys Dimension 3D printer they already had at the office, and have since printed similar contraptions for about 15 kids with similar upper-body limitations.

Emma -- who was born with her legs up by her ears and her shoulders internally rotated -- spent much of her first two years in casts or undergoing surgery. Though she has been wearing her 3D-printed "magic arms" for three years now, Stratasys only recently released the below video telling her story.

"Without the 3D printer, we would not be in a position we're in with these younger kids, making them a WREX device that can go with them," Rahman says, adding in an interview with CNET that "3D printing is great because we can make these in a couple of days. With a metal one, machining takes longer."

Emma outgrew her first WREX and is now on her second. She wears her exoskeleton not only in occupational therapy, but at home and every day in school. "She does her schoolwork, she writes, of course she plays, and it's a way to socially interact with her peers," Rahman says.

A motorized version of the WREX is currently in the works.

[Image: exoskeleton.png]

Finally got round to reading this. Wow, really interesting, love your science threads. :-)

amazing...great example of how advancing technology can help those truly in need. It's really wonderful to see the smiles on Emma's face while she works with her magic arms Confusedmile: They look like real hands.

Wow , that is awesome.
Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful heartwarming story.

That is incredible. It really cheered up a very dreary night for me.


Dug a little deeper today about 3D printing and wow! I'm glad I did! I mean I came across the word 3D printing in the past reading articles on the net but never really know much about it. Well, thanks for your article, it's piqued my curiosity Wink

let's start off by sharing this video

On the business side of things, 3D printing makes it as cheap to create single items as it is to produce thousands and thus undermines economies of scale. So it's like what digital photography has revolutionized the business of photography...we'll very much likely to end up buying computer prototype codes over the internet and just print it with our own 3D printer in the not so distant future.

I've known that nanotechnology is gonna be THE NEXT BIG THING. But this is truly an amazing and interesting share, I'm glad you posted on here. Much thanks!

Wow! I'm glad you guys enjoyed this story.

That was a very good overview video. One of my favorite classes was our Product Design course that's made up of students from across the engineering disciplines. We work in teams and design toys. :biggrin: We get to use the 3D printers and laser cutters for our designs. It allows us to build our prototypes and actually test pieces so they fit correctly. Also, we have to learn how to position or print the item to ensure the least amount of material is used and I think it actually makes us more efficient designers.

It's actually pretty intimidating to use the Digital Fabrication Lab for the first time. When we first walked in they had a Velociraptor head waiting for us and a giant Bart Simpson head. :tongue: The detail on the Velociraptor was incredible. The amounts we were told were desktops 3D printers were around $1k and some of the big machines $10K.

Then in this course we did safety and quality testing, also kid testing through our children's museum and then we go before a board of professionals. Some designs actually get picked up. The uni loves when that happens.

My area is actually the medical prosthetics/orthopedics R&D. This summer I actually did my internship as the engineering grunt Roflmao for some neurology research dealing with epilepsy.

Another one of my favorite courses was the bionic human. It's actually advanced physiology of different organ systems and bioengineering. Mind blowing stuff going on. Confusedmile:

ETA: here's another post I made on the 3D printer and a jawbone.

yep agreed, this is really mind blowing stuff. I'm sure the impact of this will be great--not just in the medical field--but will eventually trickle down to the consumables we buy in our day to day lives. I'm actually reading a book on it right now from the kindle store. There's also an article written about this back in april in the economist. http://www.economist.com/node/21553017

Keep these articles coming! I'll be reading them Big Grin

Wow, just... wow. ::tearing up::

Now, can we say "replicators"? ;-)

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