3D-Printed Exoskeleton Allows Little Girl To Be a Normal Toddler

The Citizen's Guide to the Future
Aug. 3 2012 4:39 PM

3D-Printed Exoskeleton Allows Little Girl To Be a Normal Toddler

The word exoskeleton conjures up images of sci-fi warriors wrapped in monstrous mechanical outfits that give them great strength and deadly force. But the exoskeleton here is a lightweight structure accessorized with some tiny pink handprints.

Two-year-old Emma was born with a condition called arthrogryposis, which affects the joints and muscles. In Emma’s case, it means, among other things, that she is unable to lift her arms up under her own steam.

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But thanks to the custom exoskeleton seen below, she is able to use her arms to play like any other normal toddler. Because it is created using 3-D printing (or additive manufacturing), it’s easy for the Pediatrics Engineering Research Lab at the DuPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Del., to create new versions as she grows or to replace broken parts.

The video is, admittedly, a commercial of sorts. But just try not to get choked up when you hear Emma’s mother speak about her daughter’s “magic arms.”

Via IO9.

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

Torie Bosch is the editor of Future Tense, a project of Slate, the New America Foundation, and Arizona State that looks at the implications of new technologies. 

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