Let me just say at the outset that your office might get a little dusty, but that’s okay.
Stratasys, the additive manufacturing machine maker, shares a story about 3-D printers saving lives.
Two-year-old Emma was born with a congenital disorder called arthrogryposis, which manifests through muscle weakness and joint problems. As Stratasys’s article says, “Emma was born with her legs folded up by her ears, her shoulders turned in,” and according to her mother, she could only move her thumb.
Emma’s mother became aware of the Wilmington Robotic Exoskeleton (WREX), an assistive device that helps kids as young as six with underdeveloped arms to move freely. But Emma was just two. Medical researchers in Delaware began working on a smaller model for Emma, yet while they could make the device smaller, weight was another issue. Doctors Tariq Rahman and Whitney Sample hit on the idea of using a 3-D printer to make a smaller version of the device that wouldn’t encumber Emma’s movements.
As soon as Emma put the WREX on, she was able to move her arms and give her mother a hug for the first time. As she grows and becomes more active and the WREX wears down or its parts break, the doctors can print replacements with no lead time. Now Emma uses what she calls her “magic arms” every day.
You can watch the video of Emma’s story here: