When Medical and 3D-printed Technology Connects Future Creations

13-year-old Jordan Reeves is proof of how the collaboration between medical and 3D-printed worlds can assist kids with physical differences.

When technology is used as a tool for good, we cannot help but applaud the end product. A few years ago the world was introduced to a young girl, Jordan Reeves, who was born without part of her left arm. An advocate for kids with physical differences, Reeves turned to technology to create a prosthetic that went beyond the usual faux body part. Now aged 13, she not only helps run a nonprofit called Born Just Right, that gives children without limbs an opportunity to create their own solutions, but her prosthetic was also invited to be part of the Museum of Science and Industry’s Wired to Wear Chicago exhibition which explores how wearable technology is fueling innovation.

10 year old Jordan Reeves

A Long Time In The Making

Jordan Reeves prosthetic arm journey started when she was about three years old. Working with David Rotter, the clinical director of prosthetics for Chicago-based Scheck & Siress, first came up with a 3D-printed hand that allowed Jordan to control the hand’s grasp.

Despite the success story, Rotter told Fast Company back in 2016 that he still approaches 3D-printed prosthetics with caution, even though he has a printer in his lab. According to the Fast Company write up, Rotter has yet to create a prosthesis that is entirely 3D-printed. His reason behind why he hasn’t is because he believes that there are too many variables that could lead to weak constructions.

It is no secret that 3D-printed arms have been around for a few years but the end product is getting better with time. Jordan and her Autodesk mentor Sam Hobish are hoping that as the merger of medical and 3D-printed technology strengthens, the outcome will allow people to create their own printed hands. Hobish is doing this by helping to develop a software program, called LimbForge that can adjust the size of an entire 3D model based on changes to a specific measurement.

Fast Forward to 2019

Jordan Reeves wearing a prosthetic arm that shoots glitter

Designing for a future that promises smarter wearable, the now 13-year-old Jordan came up with a prosthetic arm that shoots glitter out of its tip. Resembling a unicorn horn, the 3D printed contraption was built with the help of technical designers at Autodesk. On her being invited to the ‘Wired to Wear’ exhibition Reeves told WGN9, “I wanted to show people that our differences don’t necessarily hold us back, in fact, they can give us more opportunity”. Adding: “I love that I can show people that our differences aren’t a bad thing… just look at how much fun it can be.”

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