When U.K. psychologist Ben Ryan’s newborn infant Sol had to have his left arm amputated at only 10 days old, Ryan started searching for a prosthetic for baby Sol — only to find that there were none for babies under a year old.
So he decided to create his own, and he used a 3D printer to do so. According to Fast Company, one of the biggest problems with existing prosthetic is that anything that uses a strong battery includes a high risk of injury to babies and include sensors that often can’t “work through the baby fat.” Others are large and unwieldy.
Ryan told Fast Company that he started by mocking up a design for a prosthetic that would be lightweight, filled with fluid (he was inspired by spiders, whose legs are filled with fluid and who use hydraulic pressure to get themselves around), customisable, and wouldn’t include any potential choking hazards. At a nearby lab, he was able to 3D print a prototype, after which he spent some more time tinkering with the design until he found the perfect formula — which he says his son now wears.
Ryan was so inspired by the result that he quit his job and launched a startup called Ambionics to bring his design to children everywhere. He’s currently crowdfunding money on IndieGoGo so that he can get FDA approval and finish the patenting process.
“My aim through Ambionics is to help children everywhere adopt and continue to use prosthetics until adulthood,” Ryan says on his IndieGoGo page.