Taranaki teen building a prosthetic hand to help his brother ride a bike
One day Max Campbell wants to help the thousands of people around the world cope with motor neurone disease, but first he wants to help his younger brother Chad ride a bike.
Chad, 15, has cerebral palsy and is paralysed down his left side, making it difficult to do things like ride a bicycle.
To get around this Max, 18, is creating a prosthetic hand that will fit over Chad's like a glove and enable him to grab the handle bars, as well as other everyday items.
"Since I was little I've seen him struggle with things like riding a bike and picking up little things that we take for granted and that's a struggle for him," Max said.
"It's a simple goal but it's huge for him, riding a bike with two hands."
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After he saw a design for a prosthetic glove built by American organisation E-Nable, Max began tinkering with the design to make it work for Chad.
"They designed it for people like amputees and I wanted it to work with people for cerebral palsy and motor neurone disease," he said.
"I saw that in January this year and thought 'cool, but how can I make it better'."
Instead of the user dropping their wrist to activate the fingers like E-Nable's design, Max designed a system that involved a small CO2 (carbon dioxide) gas canister and a series of valves to open and close the fingers.
Max studied at Spotswood College until he finished Year 12 last year and this year switched to Te Kura, the correspondence school based in Wellington, to finish Year 13.
"I was bored at school last year and I looked at it and thought what could I do to make a difference," he said.
However, he has still been using the 3D printers and other technology at Spotswood to create the prototypes of the hand, which he hopes to finish by the end of the year.
He said he was using 3D printing as it was the cheapest option.
Max said once he developed a working hand for Chad, he wanted to expand on the design, using sensors to activate small motors that would operate the fingers.
He said it was "time and money and knowledge and whatnot" that was needed to expand it, and he was now looking for support from local businesses.