There are a lot of pretty awesome fathers out there — but this one can definitely apply for superhero status. With no design background, dad Ben Ryan used a scanner and a 3-D printer to build a prosthetic limb for his young son.
Baby Sol was born with an undetected clot in his upper left arm and at 10 days old, part of his arm had to be amputated. Surgeons said Sol could not be fitted for a prosthetic until at least the age of 1, and that it would be three years before he could likely be fitted for a moveable electric device.
Dad Ben Ryan told the Daily Post Wales, "I thought I could do better for my son. By encouraging him to use both arms during this period of early brain development, we believed Sol would become more likely to adopt prosthetics later on." According to Ryan, children who are not fitted with a functional hand until after 2 years of age tended to reject prosthetics.
Ryan sure did better. He taught himself the basics of product design and development. He was inspired by the way spiders move their legs using fluid pressure. He then used a Microsoft Xbox Kinect scanner to scan his son's arm while he slept. Within two months, he designed and printed his first prototype. And using a 3-D printer, he created the bionic arm. His son Sol is "able to grip with the hand and power the arm." No batteries required.
"The only thing driving me and pushing me through all the barriers — was the love I have for my son," said Ryan.
But this dad isn't done yet.
He quit his job to work on his son's prosthetic arm and set up a company, Ambionics, to develop this kind of technology for other infants. He even started a crowdfunding campaign to support the project.
One health official said Ryan's work has the potential to revolutionize the care for infants who have lost limbs.