One of the most useful applications of 3D printing is 3D printing limbs for children. Typical costs for prosthetic arms range from $3,000 to $30,000. If you were to fit a child with a prosthetic arm every 18 months (an estimated frequency to allow for growth spurts) from the ages of 2 to 18 you'd spend between $72,000 to $720,000. Yikes.
I know children with limb differences are Born Just Right, but when I think back on my childhood, especially the middle school years, there were very few times I wanted to stand out. Especially for something others might perceive as a deficiency.
As I advocate for the disenfranchised, I have been really lucky to meet young adults who are resetting my understanding of "disabilities." First it was Jordan, the coolest kid and the reason behind Jen Lee Reeves' Born Just Right. And now Peregrine, and his father Peter, of E-Nable, a global network of volunteers who are using 3D printing to give children a helping hand. They've developed a collection of 3D-printable assistive devices that are free for download and fabricate. They're at 8 devices and counting.
Peter and Peregrine are advocating for children and engineers to work together to create solutions. This means helping engineers see the needs of the children and helping the children understand how to advocate for themselves.
Closing this gap is important for two reasons. It can help us get to innovation faster and the kids can help create badass helper arms that make them the envy of all their classmates. I'm enamored with the idea of turning these kids into super heroes. I would have been envious of any kid that reminded me of Wolverine or Batman when I was 12.
I met Peter and Peregrine at SwitchPoint where they talked about crowdsourcing for good.
Go explore the E-Nable website. They need volunteers and donors like you.