Hailey Dawson is already a veteran of tossing the ceremonial first degree at the ripe old age of 7. She’s got two Major League plays under her region and is about to add a third, with her biggest audience more, as she knocks off Game 4 of the World Series in Houston.
Dawson is in the midst of a 30 -ballpark tour, hurling the first pitch for every MLB team, with the aid of a 3D-printed prosthetic hand created by studies and research crew at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Dawson was born with a rare condition called Poland Syndrome, which left her missing three digits on her right hand.
But prosthetics are traditionally terribly expensive, and many coverage projects won’t clothe the $25,000+ to afford them “for childrens”, regarding them “unnecessary, ” unlike a leg. Children swiftly outgrow the designs and the costs starts to add up. It’s a puncture in the healthcare structure that has been tackled by a number of groups in the 3D-printing industry, including not-for-profits like the Open Hand Project.
Using a 3D printer to create a customized 3D-printed hand or limb drastically reduce the manufacturing cost and allows for much simpler proportion swapping, should something be broken or its wearer really changes out of it.
Hailey’s mother, Yong, contacted out to their local University, UNLV to ask if they’d be able to help create a custom prosthetic. Brendan O’Toole, president of the the school’s mechanical engineering department, pressured. “Additive manufacturing has performed it possible to provide low-cost prosthetic devices for children like Hailey, ” he tells TechCrunch. “We been in a position to make a few measurements of a child’s side, process them through our habit pattern tool that generates 37 CAD examples in a few minutes, and then have engraved characters ready the next day.”
O’Toole’s team got to work creating a hand on a Stratasys 3D printer. “That’s the beauty of 3D publication, ” Stratasys’ Jesse Roitenberg told TechCrunch. “It’s not only reproducing the next projectile or the dashboard of a Ford. It’s being used to improve lives.”
It also offers boys the ability to customize their weapons, like that Iron Man kid a few years ago, or, in Dawson’s case, the colorings of the team she’s visiting. She’s getting a custom-made pas for tonight’s play as well, but UNLV’s not showing off whether it’s Dodger blue, Astros orange or something else a little bit more neutral. First pitch airs tonight at 5:09 P.M. PT.
As for what 3D printing mean for the future of prosthesis, “I imagine with the movement that’s going on right now, prosthetic companies might be shaking in their boots, ” says Roitenberg. “They need to be looking into these alternative ways to create the prosthetics that they have.”
Update: Hailey arrived decked out in Astros orange, and caught the corner of the plate to raucous cheering from the crowd in Houston.