3D-Printed Prosthetic Iron Man Hand Is All High Fives For Texas Boy

A child in Texas received an Iron Man-like prosthetic hand which was created by a 3D printer. Non-profit organization E-Nable, which advocates the use of 3D-printing for prosthetic limbs, provided five-year old Keith Harris with the 3D-printed hand which he showed off to his classmates at Mossman Elementary School located in Houston.

“When I first got my hand, I thought it would be difficult for me to do stuff with it,” Keith said to KPRC-TV. “I love it.”

Keith was born with a rare condition called symbrachydactyly, a congenital abnormality where the ends of a person’s hands will have small stumps where the fingers would have developed. But now, with the prosthetic hand, built by a volunteer in North Carolina and costs only $45 to develop, Keith’s abilities, and confidence, have increased.

Image Credit: E-Nable Organization

And while Keith’s prosthetic hand bears some resemblance to what the Marvel hero wears, Pat Starace, an animator and mechanical designer, has developed a prosthetic hand designed to look like Iron Man’s armored hand. According to Starace, he used 3D-printed technology to make it look awesome, perform in an awesome fashion, and to hide all the strings and mechanics. Speaking to Mashable, he is also building the prosthetic to help raise kids' self esteem to "superhero" levels.

It’s an impressive prosthetic device that will be able to incorporate all kinds of technology such as smartwatches, NFCs, microcontrollers, wireless devices, and sensors. Currently, it features voice-activated commands for LED lights, a Lipo battery, battery charger, low power Bluetooth, and an Arduino microcontroller.

Various compartments on the prosthetic hand are designed to house various devices and hide mechanisms that control the hand’s movements. There is also a voice-activated “laser,” which can also be activated by moving the hand, that can be turned off and on. Located in the prosthetic hand’s palm, there is also Iron Man’s iconic repulsor that will light up to simulate firing a repulsor beam.

Starace is looking to give away his 3D-printed prosthetic for free to families and collaborate with the E-Nable organization.

And for those of you who might be curious about 3D printers, be sure to check out our 3D printer roundup and see some of the choices that are available out there.