Give a 10 year-old the ability to choose any superhero power and you might be surprised and more than a little amused at her decision: to create a cannon that shoots out glitter at whim. This amazing opportunity presented itself to Jordan Reeves as part of the Superhero Cyborgs program, a workshop collaboration between a 3D software firm and a kid-integrated design firm. Created to pair kids with upper limb differences with professional engineers, Superhero Cyborgs empowers children to design and create their own prosthetics, while working through the entire production process.

Six kids between the ages of 10 and 15, including Jordan Reeves, who was born with a left arm that stops right above the elbow, spent a week brainstorming and building with design and engineering professionals in San Francisco. The only guideline for the workshop was for the kids to think superhero when creating their prosthesis design. Jordan and her mentors toyed with 3D printed casts of her arm and came up with a five-barrel glitter cannon prototype that emits sparkliness when she pulls a string. Since the workshop ended, Jordan has continued video-chatting with a designer from the software firm to tweak the design to get the cannon “to create some kind of pressurized system that shoots out sparkles more effectively.” The designer is also working with Jordan to create another, more functional arm, which Jordan hopes can incorporate features that will allow her to hold heavy items such as groceries as well as tween essentials like a cell phone.

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“Project Unicorn” as Jordan nicknamed her prosthetic arm, sounds equal parts awesome and a clean-up nightmare, but Jordan’s mom Jen was totally game for the opportunity for her daughter to express herself in a revolutionary way. As Jordan’s particular limb difference can make finding the right prosthesis a challenge, the family has embraced the use of 3D printing for prostheses for its affordability. Growing kids like Jordan require new models on a regular basis, and Project Unicorn and the other prosthetic limb projects allowed the Superhero Cyborgs to have a little fun while experimenting with ways to turn their differences into admirable creations.

via Fast Company

All images © Sarah O’Rourke and Autodesk