Ben Ryan from Anglesey runs Ambionics, a startup engaged in manufacturing prosthetics for small children. He made a custom 3D printed prosthetic limb for his baby boy who had lost his arm just after he was born. Born in March 215, Sol had a blood clot in his left arm and so it had to be amputated.
The NHS informed Ryan that his son could not be fitted with a functional myoelectric prosthetic for the next three years he started making his own prosthetic for his son. As per research, the earlier a child is fitted with prosthetics, the sooner he gets accustomed to it. Sol was less dependent on his left arm, and then came the decision of fitting the prosthetic arm so that he would start using his left side more. He started out with fitting foam prosthetic and later replaced it with a 3D printed hydraulic arm in which the thumb was mobile.
Ryan started out by 3D scanning Sol’s arm using a Microsoft Xbox Kinect scanner. Thereafter he used the Autodesk Fusion 360 software to design the device. The complete process took only about 5 days to complete. Ryan used the Stratasys’ Connex 3D printer for 3D printing the hydraulic prosthetic. The final product includes 3D printed flexible actuators and a power-splitting unit which enables Sol, operate the thumb and the hand’s grip manually using compressed air/hydraulic pump.
Ambionics has launched a crowdfunding campaign at Indiegogo to get his infant prosthetics project initiated. Ryan hopes to raise £150,000 which he will use for further research in the field of 3D printed prosthetics, and pay for CE and FDA certifications, as well as other costs. These 3D printed prosthetics are lightweight, do not contain choking parts and are body-powered. Paul Soni, of Autodesk, said that Ryan’s project was extremely innovative and ambitious.