Faith Lennox is just a lovely 7 year old sweetheart who never imagined she’d have the need for a left hand, since she doesn’t even remember losing it, as she was just nine months old when that happened.
Oldest of three siblings, Faith suffered from compartment syndrome when her position during childbirth cut off the flow of blood to her left forearm, irreparably damaging tissue, muscle and bone. The doctors tried hard for nine months to save the limb, unfortunately they ultimately determined that it would be best to amputate just below the elbow to make the most of it.
However, when she got an opportunity to make her own custom made hand in just a day by a 3D printer, well that was different and nothing was going to stop her since she even got to pick her favorite colors – pink and blue, which also matched the tank top she was wearing.
The entire printing process was done live in front of Faith by a 3D printer studio called, Built It Workspace, that is based in California. Ofcourse what got Faith even more involved was that the hand was called “Robohand” and it looked super cool because it matched a lot with the pair Iron Man, the marvel superhero wears in his movies.
According to Mark Lengsfeld, “3D technology will revolutionize prosthetics, especially in children who outgrow prosthetic limbs or have trouble using them due to size and weight.”
As soon as this happy smiling 7 year old designed her own ‘Robohand’, she quickly put it on and then jumped on her bike to show off to her parents and pedal away at speeds previously never imagined by any of them.
You could hear her family members shouting from the back, “be careful” and “Watch out” where as nothing could stop Faith, as she was enjoying the functionality of her new gorgeous blue and pretty pink fingers.
“That’s it, I don’t think we’ll ever get her off it,” said her mother Nicole, smiling wide with happiness.
This wasn’t the first time Faith had tried prosthetics, in the last couple of years she tried plenty of them but they were big, heavy, felt bulky and extremely hard to use and very inconvenient. Her parents didn’t give up and even worked a nonprofit called E-Nable to get her help and find her a 3-D-printed hand.
However, 3D printing technology is so new, there are limitations in the offerings of capable printers, so there’s a huge waiting list. This is when they learnt about Build It Workspace and felt like they had found their angels to help their daughter Faith. This small studio not only teaches people on how to use high-tech printers, but provides access to them for projects and does its own commercial printing.
This is a big boon for 3D printing industry, an easy, simple prosthetic made with plastic had just made a huge dent in a child’s life by making her daily tasks easier. This is a great innovation breakthrough in small, lightweight hands that not only make this economical but allow children to use this easily. At just under a pound in weight and a mere cost of just $50 to build it out of the same materials that are used to make drones. this is tough, robust and solid.
As the 7 year old outgrows her shoes in a year and extends her height, a lot will have to be changed, this “robohand’ can be replaced and made again, just as cheaply and easily, said Mark Muller, a prosthetics professor at California State University, Dominguez Hills, who helped with the design of her hand. He further shared that if we were to make a similar but a heavier adult model with sensors that attach to a person’s muscles, then that would cost anywhere from $15,000 to $20,000
This is the first hand that Mark Lengsfeld’s company has printed yet him and his three employees have printed out almost everything from pumps for oil and gas companies to parts for unmanned aerial vehicles. Lengsfeld was emotional in his words when he said about Faith’s robohand – “It’s been an honor to help her.”
Airwolf 3D, whose printers built Faith’s hand, have also done more good things in the world. A short time ago, they constructed over 200 hands for children around the world as part of an international competition to see which company could use the most 3-D printers in one space at one time. Airwolf had 159 printers building at the same time, and they merely won by one.
So, as we see the progress of 3D printing technology, we are moved by Faith’s story and her beautiful pink and blue ‘Robohand’. While we still don’t know the full potential of 3D technology, we already know it has the potential to change everything we build and do today.
After her hand was made, Faith kept smiling back to more than a dozen reporters and photographers, who kept taking her pictures. She had never been in front of so many people, looking at her, which included her school and city officials, family friends and others all merged in the crowd at the studio. Faith, then walked shyly in front of a huge poster that read “Hand It To Faith” which Mark Lengsfeld and his team had made for her.
In the end, when Faith was asked to show how she can use the hand to help with things like schoolwork, she went immediately in a go, go, go mode and got busy by placing her new hand firmly on a piece of paper, holding it in place and then went on to draw a picture.
Well, what do you think she went on to draw? Her beautiful new hand, of course, complete with iron man hand and robot fingers in proper perfect details. We couldn’t be more happier for Faith and wish her the best.