Two men have given a South African boy the hand he never had -- from 10,000 miles apart.
In 2011, Carpenter Richard Van As of South Africa, who lost his fingers to a work accident, saw an intriguing YouTube video by an amateur mechanical engineer in the U.S. It featured a giant mechanical hand.
Thinking the maker of the video had serious potential, Van As emailed Ivan Owen, who replied from Bellingham, Wash. Owen agreed to help develop a prosthetic finger, according to CNET Australia.
The pair immediately began emailing designs and comments. They used MakerBot 3D printers to send entire parts and plans, blogging about their progress on the blog, "Coming Up Shorthanded."
Meanwhile, a blog reader and mother of a 5-year-old boy, Liam, contacted Van As to inquire about possible devices for her son, CNET reported. He was born without fingers in his right hand. Van As and Owens decided Liam deserved a full prosthetic hand.
In November, Owen travelled to Johannesburg to finish collaborating in person. A few months later, Liam became the first person to receive their completed project: the Robohand, which costs less than $150.
In the video above, Liam uses it to pick up coins from a table and play a ball game.
Anyone could get one, from the website Thingiverse, where Owen and Van As made the 3D printing pattern available for download.
This device was built for a 5-year-old boy. Using Makerware, it could be scaled to fit a wide range of individuals. The only thing that would need to be changed is the size of the bolts purchased from a hardware store. The design is open source and in the public domain. We encourage anyone who can make use of this design for any purpose to do so.
According to NBC News, a cable system makes the device work. The user, with action from the wrist and any remains of original digits, pulls on the Robohand's parts, contracting its artificial fingers.
Owen and Van As hope Liam's new hand is only the beginning.
"Our vision is to make this available for people and locations where there's no infrastructure present," Owen told NBC News.
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Bev Holzrichter, "The Internet is my hero, it saved my life"
CNN reported the story of Bev Holzrichter, 56, who runs a horse stable in Charlotte, Iowa with a live stream installed for foaling season. In 2004 one mare, Sierra was having trouble giving birth. Holzrichter went to check on her without realizing that another mare, Nifty, had broken down her door and was in Sierra's stall trying to steal her foal. Trying to defend her newborn, <a href="http://articles.cnn.com/2005-09-21/tech/bev.holzrichter_1_web-cam-stables-horses?_s=PM:TECH">Sierra kicked Holzrichter three times in the chest. </a> Users on the live stream watched the entire incident, and came to the rescue. Residents of Germany, the United Kingdom, France and all over the world called the Charlotte Rescue Squad. When they arrived 45 minutes later, Holzrichter was already in shock with a dangerously low temperature. "<a href="http://articles.cnn.com/2005-09-21/tech/bev.holzrichter_1_web-cam-stables-horses?_s=PM:TECH">The Internet is my hero</a>." Holzrichter said of her ordeal. "Those people watching are the ones who helped me. If it wasn't for the technology of the web cam, I'm not sure when I would have been found or what would have happened to me." Holzrichter suffered a damaged knee and leg.
Bear Silber: "How Reddit Saved My Life"
In a <a href="http://www.mpviral.com/2012/07/17/reddit-saved-mans-life/">viral Youtube video</a> chronicling his ordeal, Silber begins, "Six months ago, I almost died." Silber, was suddenly struck with a disease that disfigured his body and caused him to retreat indoors, not wanting to be seen. Doctors were unable to diagnose Silber after numerous tests. One day, he was browsing Reddit, when he saw a posted photo that resembled his symptoms. One commenter added that the man might have Cushings Syndrome. Upon further research Silber realized he had all the same symptoms of the disease. His doctor, however, was not convinced. Not until Silber went to an endocrinologist did she confirm that he had Cushing's disease. Silber was able to remove the tumor and is on the road to recovery.
Marc C. Santos and Rowan Santos
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Tourist Lost On Ice Spotted On Webcam
A 40-year-old German tourist walked onto a shelf of packed ice off a beach on the North Sea coast of Germany in January hoping to photograph a sunset. After it became dark, however, the man couldn’t find his way back to the beach and was faced with freezing temperatures. <a href="http://www.lencurrie.com/2010/03/how-the-internet-has-saved-lives/">He began flashing an SOS signal using his camera’s flash</a>. The SOS was spotted by a woman watching a webcam of the beach. She phoned police, who drove to the beach and flashed their headlights to guide the man to safety. The man, who declined to give his name, and his webcam watcher were never identified.
Amita Gupta was diagnosed with leukemia in 2011. Gupta wrote a blog post about needing a bone marrow transplant donor, <a href="http://amitguptaneedsyou.com/">and even created a website</a>. Concerned people all over the country launched a campaign to find Gupta a donor. After 100 drives, 7,000 reblogs, tweets, Facebook posts, press, and fundraising, Gupta finally found a donor. He still has a long way to go, but he's on his way to recovery.
Deborah Copaken Kogan
<a href="http://www.slate.com/articles/double_x/doublex/2011/07/how_facebook_saved_my_sons_life.2.html">When Kogan's 4-year-old came down sick on Mother's Day</a> she dutifully took him to the pediatrician, who treated him for strep. The next morning however, Leo was worse. The family doctor tentatively diagnosed him with scarlet fever, due to the rashes that had appeared on his body. Kogan continued to post pictures of her son on Facebook, where concerned commenters worried over his condition. The next day, Leo was swollen beyond recognition. Kogan snapped a bunch of pictures to send to her family doctor and post on Facebook as well. Within 10 minutes, a former neighbor called Kogan urging her to go to the hospital as soon as possible. Her son had suffered the same symptoms and was diagnosed with Kawasaki disease - a rare autoimmune disorder that attacks the coronary arteries surrounding the heart. Private messages from pediatricians and cardiologists urged Kogan not to ignore the symptoms, damage can begin only five days after the onset of symptoms. Leo was diagnosed with Kawasaki disease and then Kawasaki-triggered liver disease. Two months later, Leo is recovering and doing well.
<a href="http://www.usatoday.com/tech/news/story/2012-01-01/facebook-kidney/52319734/1">Damon Brown found a kidney on Facebook</a> after pleading for his life on a special page he created. On January 3 he received a kidney from Jacqueline Ryall, an acquaintance of his wife's who answered his Facebook plea. "She said it wasn't really for me. It was for my kids, because they deserve to have a dad around," said Brown, 38, told <em>USA Today. </em>
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Doug Henning: "The Internet Literally Saved My Life"
A fractured ankle and surgery to repair it caused <a href="http://doughennig.blogspot.com/2012/03/internet-and-my-wife-literally-saved-my.html">Doug Henning</a> to be off his feet for a couple weeks. One Sunday night, however, he woke from an excruciating pain in his left ribs and a fever. Googling "fever after surgery" on his iPad Henning learned about a pulmonary embolism in which circulation in an immobilized leg can result in a clot. If the clot breaks off it can travel into the lungs and cause chest pain and fever. Henning was going to ignore the signs until he read that pulmonary elbolism when left untreated is fatal. Henning went to the ER the next day where doctors discovered a clot. Thankfully a regime of blood-thinners will cause the clot to disappear over time. The moral of the story according to Henning, "<a href="http://doughennig.blogspot.com/2012/03/internet-and-my-wife-literally-saved-my.html">Google is definitely your friend.</a>"