In what may be one of the most inspiring and innovative uses for 3D printing we’ve seen, a young girl has just received a brand new hand thanks to 3D printing technology. Five year-old Hayley Fraser from the UK used to try to hide her left hand in photographs or when playing with friends due to her distress over being born without fingers. But hiding is perhaps a thing of the past for Fraser, after a new US-based charity called E-nable built the young girl a pink and purple robotic hand inspired by Iron Man. E-nable stepped up to the prosthetic limb challenge after The National Health Service (NHS) refused to help Fraser’s parents obtain an artificial limb for their daughter.
Fraser is the first person in the UK to receive a 3D prosthetic hand, an event that her dad David says has changed her life for the better. David tells Metro, “I spoke to a guy called Frankie Flack from the University of Wisconsin in the USA. He kindly made a 3D-printed hand for Hayley, free of charge. She can now pick up objects like fruit, [and] her teddies and it provides counterbalance when she’s riding her scooter.” Hayley’s cool new pink hand was designed from a plaster cast made by her parents and then printed in 3D by E-nable volunteers. 3D printing has not often been used for prosthetic limbs, but this story may set the precedent for a new trend. This technology is already being called the “future of manufacturing” and is currently increasingly being used to make many items including film props, toys, food, aerial drones and even unborn babies.