You don’t have to look far online to find articles and photo galleries of sculptures created with 3D printers. Besides being just a cool piece of new technology, 3D printing also offers solutions to real-world problems.
Take Daniel Omar for example. Singularity Hub reports that Daniel lost both his arms in a Sudanese government airstrike two years ago, but now Daniel has a new prosthetic arm thanks to 3D printing technology. The new limb is thanks to Mick Ebeling, who is working with his nonprofit Not Impossible Labs to tackle projects like amputees of war and offer them a new lease on life.
The way that Not Impossible Labs works is they post open sourced designs online and invite others to improve upon them, giving them the best possible product for the job. They did this for a blind graffiti artist, creating a design for an eyewriter that was improved upon by a group of Samsung engineers from North Korea.
When Mick Ebeling landed in Sudan he tracked Daniel down to a 70,000 person refugee camp where the 16 year-old boy was living. Over the course of two days, Ebeling was able to fit Daniel with a plastic cylinder hand that attached to Daniel’s upper arm and nylon cords that connected to the hand below, allowing Daniel to flex his arm and close and open his hand. With his new 3D printed hand, Daniel is able to do things like feed himself and use a computer, things that two years ago seemed like an impossibility.
In a war-torn country that has left 50,000 people without limbs, Ebeling is hopeful of the technology’s reach. “We’re hopeful that other children and adults in other regions of Africa, as well as other continents around the globe, will utilize the power of this new technology for similar beginnings,” said Ebeling.