Fast-forward a few months, and Van As and Owen had perfected a design for a prosthetic hand which could be 3D-printed. This would make affordable prosthetics for people missing fingers -- like a five-year-old boy they'd met named Liam who was born without any -- way more attainable.
The hand, which is fully functional and capable of gripping things as the wearer flexes muscles in their arms to control it, costs only $15O. That's significantly less than most similar prosthetics, and you'd imagine that the people that came up with it would try to use their invention to garner a sweet payday and an office with free snacks. That's what wealthy people do, right? Make buttloads of money and put a few Snickers in a building? Owen and Van As gave away the design schematics for their hand for free, the result of which has been a remarkable boom in the prosthetics industry. Other individuals and companies began playing with the design, and because it's so cost-effective, many can actually be given away for free. A volunteer group called e-NABLE grew from this as a way of matching those missing limbs with those who could provide matches for their needs as each individual requires slightly different design capabilities.
As more people got involved, designs evolved and the $150 schematic actually gave way to even cheaper ones, some going for as low as $35. Eventually, they could be constructed with bits and pieces that snapped together, and some were produced to look like superhero limbs with Spider-Man or Captain America motifs. So not only do you have a replacement for a missing body part, but you're also technically a member of the Avengers.
Hands are being built specifically for rock-climbing, bowling, playing musical instruments, and even enhanced gripping with extra thumbs. An entire industry that left people waiting years to afford new advances is now a thing of the past.
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