The last time I got excited about a prosthetic hand was when a boy received the Iron Man model delivered by Robert Downey Jr. However, my new fave is the one I spotted on USA Today—a Star Wars inspired Stormtrooper armor. Jacob Taggart received the hand for Christmas from the non-profit MORE Foundation (Musculoskeletal Orthopedic Research and Education). MORE has a Helping Hands program which creates 3d printed hands for those in need, and it just so happened that Jacob needed a right hand.
With only part of his thumb, a bit of his first finger, no middle finger and “two little nubs” on the right hand, Jacob, who lives in north Phoenix, was starting to fall behind in kindergarten, his grandmother Linda Taggart said.
The new hand is mechanical and allows Jacob to pick up tricky items like bottles, since it has rubber pads on the fingertips. Wires run along the top of the prosthetic, and with pressure from the wearer’s wrist, tension is created along the wires causing the fingers to close. MORE is working with the e-NABLE Foundation program, which provides open source 3D print files to produce the prosthetic. Although it is exciting to see this Star Wars hand, the real excitement is watching the power of open source spreading so rapidly with makerspaces, scout troops, libraries and individuals joining forces with e-NABLE. Families who never thought they could afford help are getting the devices they need. Let’s hope the new year brings more of the same; technology can bring equity.
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