Enter the 3D printer, which allowed Van As, along with prop designer Ivan Owen, to create the Robohand, a $150 alternative to more expensive prosthetics.
With the invention, Van As and Owen are able to restore hand functionality to those afflicted with diseases like amniotic band syndrome, which causes children to be born without fingers and toes.
While there’s not much that I can tell you that the video below can’t say better, there are a few key takeaways here. One, while MakerBot has traditionally shown off the Replicator’s ability to print out a variety of rather useless widgets, it’s clear that the technology has use cases that extend far beyond that. 3D printing can — and clearly, has — changed lives.