2-Year-Old Toddler Gets 'Magic Arms'

By Meera Dolasia on August 6, 2012

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Two-year old Emma's life started out a little shaky - Born with arthrogryposis multiplex congenita, a rare disorder that affects muscle strength and limb movement, she had a hard time lifting herself. However, her condition improved as she grew older allowing her to be a normal toddler in everyway except for the fact that she could not lift her hands. Now, thanks to some amazing technology, a 3-D printer and some caring doctors, the little girl has been bestowed with what she aptly calls 'magic arms'.

Emma's life took a turn for the better when her mother attended a conference in Philadelphia where she learnt about the Wilmington Robotic Exoskeleton (WREX), as assistive device created to enable people with weak arms to become more self-sufficient. Believing that the exoskeleton, which comprises of hinged metal bars and resistance bands may be just what Emma needed to become independent, she approached the inventors, Dr. Tariq Rahman and Whitney Sample at the Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children.

Sure enough, they agreed to allow Emma to be part of the initial group of people selected to test the prototype. However, because the original version of the WREX had been designed for older kids and/or adults, it was too large and heavy for Emma.

So, the two doctors decided to create a smaller version for the little girl, one that was light enough for her to carry around. But instead of doing it the traditional way they simply sketched their exact requirements and 'printed' a custom-size ABS plastic Exoskeleton using a Stratasys 3-D printer. The best part is that the printer is extremely easy to use and so cost effective, that the doctors will be able to replace broken parts easily and also create new custom exoskeleton arms for Emma, as she grows.

Meanwhile, Emma is using her magic arms to do what every toddler loves to - Create colorful drawings with crayons, play with her dolls and build Lego castles! And she is not the only one - Currently, about 15 young kids have found a new lease to life, thanks to the amazing invention and 3-D printing technology and the numbers, can only increase - Science is truly awesome!

Resources: Huffingtonpost.com,stratasys.com

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351 Comments
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  • panda lover 1234/14/2014
    emma you are amazing thanks for showing me your video
    • BOB4/9/2014
      she will probly take it off some day
      • krisdakid1001
        sad happy awesome
        • juliet350
          juliet3503/28/2014
          amzing
          • ?3/13/2014
            Poor girl i am happy she is still alive at least i Hope she gets better :( Tech Is Getting better
            • Sara3/6/2014
              Poor little girl.
              • almostdied2/19/2014
                aw thats like prothspetics this 3d printer could help cure the world of lots of its problems like no food or no home or loss of limbs but it could also help destroy the world because you could print weapons and lots of dangerous things but it might save the world or it might destroy it never know is it worth it? also ''May the odds be ever in your favor'' - Hunger Games qoute anywho i almost died so i know how it is to be like her but anyway hope she achieves her goal also 3D printers seem to be really popular right now for all the amazing things they can do
                • monster0002/17/2014
                  she is so cute
                  • izzy101
                    izzy1012/16/2014
                    good for her!
                    • KJ2/10/2014
                      She looks like a leader! She will achieve in life, i bet!

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