I met nine-year-old Aidan Robinson at a summer camp he attended called Superhero Cyborgs. This camp, run by KIDmob, is a place where kids with a variety of limb differences design their own prosthetic and orthotic devices. Each kid's design was impressive, but Aidan's playful ideas really resonated with me. To me, Aidan's ideas were a model for how prosthetic devices could and should be more appropriate, useful, and fun than those typically used for both children and adults.The typical prosthetic arm has a robotic hand or a hook that does not adapt well to a variety uses.

Aidan was born without a left arm below the elbow and has had many different types of prosthetics, all leaving him feeling almost better off without them. Despite these hurdles, and like the resilient and creative kid he is, Aidan adapted extremely well to life with a limb difference and is more active than most kids his age. Because the prosthetic is a part of him, we both felt that he needed a device that accurately reflected his personality and interests.

Aidan and his mom had two main goals for his new device. Aidan wanted access to multiple task specific attachments on one device, like a swiss army knife. Aidan had specific-enough interests to know exactly the tools he wanted on his arm, mostly consisting of things that helped him play favorite games or do everyday tasks. Aidan's mom, Jill, wanted something that would grow with him. Prosthetics are often expensive and custom fit. To be worth the cost, Aidan had to get long-term use and be more satisfied with the device overall.

I took the ideas Aidan and his mom came up with, and together we designed the following prosthetic device.

Step 1: Aidan's Ideas

The Superhero Cyborgs workshop was structured so that Aidan could work like a real designer, allowing him to be a creative Superhero and realize some of his ideas. He started off with some brainstorming sketches and moved on to do some really great prototyping work to test out some of his ideas. Aidan's sketch shows he has some really big ideas for a super adaptive, multifaceted device. But to get started, he kept it simple but cool and made himself a yellow LEGO character hand and a custom molded socket.

<p>Hi Coby,</p><p> I am Paul from Ontario, Canada my son Ethan who born without a left hand after elbow. Me and my wife was trying prosthesis for him since he was 4 months, but completely failed due to weight of the prosthesis, he never wanted to use, always complained its so heavy. I was searching online to find other prosthesis manufacturer who can make better, while searching I found your work. That is a eye opener for me. Details of the work inspired me to make one. I already looked for makerbot 3D replicator printer and ninja flex, I am hoping I will able to make one. Thanks for all the design files. You are a savior. Our prayers are always with you.</p>
<p>@paulgomes:</p><p>Your son has roughly what I was born with. Please take my comments in that light.</p><p>While I am hesitant to tell a parent how to parent, please read my comments about how my parents chose to deal with it on the link below. Simply put, they explicitly decided to ignore it. Now, I am almost 60 and am very happy with my parent's choice. And yes, I am a parent of a now almost 25 yo son. If he had been born without a hand, I would have done it *exactly* as they did.</p><p>And, no, having one hand does *not* make me handicapped. I went to high school wit another guy with one hand whose parents had made a different choice. *He* was handicapped.</p><p><a href="https://www.instructables.com/id/Fuzzy-Stump-Socket-Prosthetic/" rel="nofollow">https://www.instructables.com/id/Fuzzy-Stump-Socket...</a></p>
<p>I can't believe I missed this comment. Please do tell me how it worked out for you. I am happy to help in any way I can if you need assistance. Wishing you and Ethan the best. </p>
<p>This is really touching... You're a great guy! I wish all the best you deseve it</p>
Thanks Giorgia. Glad you enjoyed.
amazing, this things are awesome
<p>So glad you like it.</p>
<p>I followed your profile here from your multi-colored sweater. I think this instructable may be the coolest thing I've seen all week.</p>
<p>Thanks. I'm glad you like it. Sorry it took me so long to reply to this comment. It must have slipped though my radar. </p>
<p>New DARPA Prosthetic Robotic Arm https://youtu.be/dk5QF16CX2c</p>
<p>Hello Coby,</p><p>I'm Davids from Ghana and have a son Caleb, 4 years old who was born without a right hand below the elbow quite similar to Aidan's but a bit closer to the wrist. It's been really difficult for us - Caleb, me and his mum. In that, our society is that which looks at disabilities as a form of curse or a misfortune. It has not been easy for him integrating into society as he doesn't get the friendly relationship he and us anticipate.</p><p>But when I look into Caleb, he has got much more than we could even imagine. He's very active, happy, playful and above all talented. A great football talent that he is, I've always been thinking of a way to help see my boy through his dreams. </p><p>He's been curious lately as my wife tells me, about what happened to his arms....and that his schoolmates have been staring overly at him especially when he's playing soccer. Though I'm currently not staying with my family in Ghana, but communication with them is very swift and I do feel feel pity for Caleb when he always asks me on the phone: &quot;Dad, how can I play football without my hand? I can't throw the ball when it goes to throw over&quot;. The least I can always do is to motivate and reassure him that it's gonna be ok.</p><p>Please Coby, is there any advice or help that you and other like minded individuals or organizations do to help Caleb?</p><p>You can reach me out through calebility@gmail.com or my cell #: +974 77531847.... Any help extended to poor Caleb and my family will be highly appreciated.</p>
<p>I'm not quite sure why the lego hand is hollow. I think that a solid piece (so that the person printing it could choose the infill) would lend itself to a much more solid and usable product (while still being lite)</p>
The LEGO hand is hollow mostly because support material is less expensive than model material. If it was made on a MakerBot or similar printer I would have used a lattice structure for the internal supports as you suggest.
<p>Excellent idea you have my respect sir, many posts here are cool but useless, this idea is awesome, I hope you continues this work.</p><p>Cheers</p>
<p>Thank you. I hope to be able to continue this work as well.</p>
<p>Aidan is going to be a very positive part of humanity's future if his mind continues to develop at this level of creativity!</p>
<p>I agree. He's got a lot going for him.</p>
<p>Really impressive! I've seen a few other prosthetic related 3D print tutorials but none of them have been as elegant, intuitive or accessible as this one is. This seems like a real solution that someone with access to a desktop style 3D printer could potentially utilize to help someone with a disability. I have to say that I love the quick change attachments, the Lego one is especially impressive and is genius in it's simplicity. I'm glad you're associated with Instructables because no one would stand a chance against the sheer thought, heart, and design of this project in the Dremel contest otherwise. Very well done, you should be proud of what you created and the joy it has brought.</p><p>Best Regards!</p>
<p>Thank you. I am glad you like the quick change attachments. Aiden really had a great visions that steered the direction of the design and fabrication. </p><p>I entered some contests just for fun, but I can't win any of them. </p>
<p>And kudos to Aiden for coming up with such a great concept. The uninhibited creativity of kids is always impressive!</p>
<p>Great job, man! I totally commend you for your great work in helping this kid gain confidence in himself, and revolutionizing the everchanging world of prosthetics. You should totally check out my Instructable that goes hand in hand with this:</p><p><a href="https://www.instructables.com/id/Smot-Blox-3d-Printed-Toys/" rel="nofollow">https://www.instructables.com/id/Smot-Blox-3d-Print...</a></p><p>Great job; keep it up! </p>
Thanks. Nice job with the printed toys.<br><br>-C
<p>This instructable needs to go beyond this webpage. What you have done here needs to be shared all over the world to inspire others to do the same. As you said, to simply &quot;replace&quot; does not have to be the only option. As an engineer who entered this field to make a difference and create, I commend you on your thoughtful and giving natured project.</p>
<p>Thank you. Here is an article in the Atlantic about it. www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2014/11/the-boy-with-the-lego-hand/382637/</p>
<p>I second this</p>
<p>Just a thought, for light load tools, like the spoon, you could have a general purpose rod with a rare-earth magnet coupling allowing for quick tip changes. ??</p>
<p>That would be really cool! A magnet arm could be so useful and fun.</p>
<p>This made my day! I think that this is totally awesome! Keep it going!</p>
<p>Thank you. I hope you have a creative day.</p>
I was actually interested in going back to school and I was interested in doing the same type of thing. I think it's creative, technical and most importantly it helps those in need. I grew up in a machine shop and have my own carpentry business, I build computers and love structural/mechanical engineering. What was your major? I would love to get to know more about how you got into the field and more about your job. Truly inspirational!
<p>I studied Industrial Design in college, and I've been building things all my like. I am working now as an Artist in Residence at Pier 9 in San Francisco and also as a part of the shop staff there. </p>
<p>Question? How Do I bend it, I know it is with hot water but whats the temperature? does it have to be ABS?</p>
<p>The temperature is approximately 180&ordm;F. It will work with PLA for sure. Don't know about ABS.</p>
<p>you rock. keep doing it! kudos.</p>
<p>Thank you.</p>
<p>Hurray! Yes, great work. Especially that you realize that kids know what they need and that you could listen to Adian and help him achieve that. I am sure you have helped him know, for the rest of his life, that he need not be limited by the attitudes of others, not just relative to his prosthetic but in anything he wants to do. </p>
<p>I hope this really does boost his confidence. Aidan is a great kid.</p>
<p>It makes me want to have a missing arm!</p><p>So great</p>
<p>I've gotten that response from a number of other people. It is funny to feel jealous of someone you previously saw as disabled. </p>
<p>just completely and totally awesome in every way.</p>
<p>Thanks so much!</p>
love u dear...anything for kids...file patent...its a big thing
<p>Thank you. I am glad you enjoyed it.</p>
<p>just completely and totally awesome in every way.</p>
<p>Question? How Do I bend it, I know it is with hot water but whats the temperature? does it have to be ABS?</p>
<p>Question? How Do I bend it, I know it is with hot water but whats the temperature? does it have to be ABS?</p>
<p>Question? How Do I bend it, I know it is with hot water but whats the temperature? does it have to be ABS?</p>
<p>Awesome project! Congratulations for your inittiative!</p>
<p>What a fantastic approach to making the best of one's abilities! I loved reading about Adrian and am thankful for people like you, who have the ability to help someone like him realize his dreams. You're both gifted! And to top it all off, what a cutie Adrian is! I'm sure he's an inspiration to all those who are in his life on a daily basis! Thanks for sharing such a wonderful story! </p>
<p>Thank you. He's a great kid and a bunch of fun to work with.</p>

About This Instructable




Bio: I build, I teach, I learn. Happiest when covered in saw dust, sweat and machine grease. Visit CobyUngerDesign.com for more projects and info.
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