Brandeis Prosthesis Club (BPC), a group which has made 3D printed prosthetics for children and young adults, hosted an interactive workshop on Wednesday inviting interested students to join in constructing flexible hands and other jointed limbs.
The group focuses on creating prosthetics for growing children and have shipped out six prosthetic body parts including hands and fingers since their start in 2015, according to the club’s president, David Bressler ’20.
Based in the Brandeis MakerLab, students were invited to drop by during a four hour period on Wednesday where they were shown examples of the fully constructed prosthetic hands and could practice piecing together the hands themselves.
Bressler explained that normal prosthetics can cost thousands of dollars and since kids grow quickly, it is often impractical to pay for prosthetics that they will quickly outgrow.
That’s where Brandeis Prosthesis Club comes in. For less than $50 per prosthetic, club members can 3D print plastic prosthetics, attach a few strings and screws, and ship the finished limbs to recipients around the world.
“The idea is when they outgrow it, we make a new one,” Bressler said, noting that the prosthetics are made to recipient’s specific measurements and come at no charge to the recipients. The colors of the prosthetics can even be customized, according to Bressler who said the most popular design is a hand made to look like the red and gold superhero suit of Iron Man.
The club has provided children in places as far as Kenya and as close as Washington, D.C. with prosthetics capable of limited flexibility. Hands made by the group are “good for grasping stuff, but you won’t have individual finger movement,” Bressler explained.
“We want everyone to have access to something,” he said.
The group has constructed and shipped out prosthetic hands, individual fingers and elbows, according to Bressler.
The BPC works with a group called E-nable which provides models for the prosthetics and helps connect prosthetic makers like BCP with recipients who require prosthetics, according to Bressler and the E-nable website.
BPC meets Wednesday nights from 7 to 8 p.m., according to Bressler.