3D-printed prosthetic for heroic kids

A 3D-printed prosthetic built to mimic the look of Tony Stark's Iron Man armour.
PAT STARACE/Mashable

A 3D-printed prosthetic built to mimic the look of Tony Stark's Iron Man armour.

This post was originally published on Mashable.

A designer is using 3D-printed technology to build prosthetic hands that could make kids look and feel like Avengers.

Pat Starace, an animator and mechanical designer, has developed an Iron Man-inspired prosthetic hand with voice control and laser beam-like capabilities.

Robert Downey Jr shows off his high-tech gauntlet in the first Iron Man film.

Robert Downey Jr shows off his high-tech gauntlet in the first Iron Man film.

Starace told Mashable he is building the prosthetic to raise kids' self esteem to "superhero levels."

The hand comes with Bluetooth connectivity, a battery, USB charger and Arduino technology, a computing tool that senses the physical world. By tilting one's hand back, the user activate "thrusters," which are actually LED light displays.

It's not quite as high tech as Tony Stark's fictional super suit, but Starace says his prosthetic could incorporate other technology like wireless devices, smartwatches, sensors, NFC technology and more.

In general, prosthetics cost thousands of dollars, but 3D-printing technology has drastically reduced the prices of developing functional prosthetics.

Starace said he intends to give the Iron Man hand to families for free and plans to collaborate with E-nable, a group that advocates for 3D-printing prosthesis, along the way. Starace said you could "put this on a child today." However, this is only the first model and has had no real-world application yet.

This isn't the first time technology has been developed to mimic superheroes. For X-Men fans, there's not only a real life-version of Wolverine's claws, but also Magneto shoes that let you walk on the ceiling.

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