With the advent of 3D printing technology, the development of the non-profit Form5 Prosthetics Inc. has burst onto the scene to support the development, manufacture, and distribution of quality and innovative designs of prosthetics for the millions of people living with limb-loss. What once was considered a luxury item, too expensive for most people to afford, can now be custom-made for those individuals for way less money, and in a lot less time. Often, prosthetics can be difficult to afford, not only due to the cost of one purchase, but also as replacements are needed due to growth spurts or weight changes and the size needs of their prosthetic change, or accidental breakage occurs requiring replacements and the additional costs.
Form5 has found our first 5 recipients for 2018, and all of their stories are different.
Form5’s very first lower extremity prosthetic design will go to our first recipient, Jillian, a 13-year-old girl diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a cancer of the bone common in children. Form5 is thrilled to announce a collaboration with Owens Corning and is developing a durable, strong lower left leg prosthetic for Jillian in hopes it will be more comfortable, and fit her better, all in less time and at a lower cost. Jillian will receive her prosthesis at the end of the month and we look forward to sharing our progress on this project going forward.
Our second recipient for 2018 is Dakylie an eleven-year-old girl from North Carolina. Her family first saw videos posted by Aaron Westbrook, Founder, and CEO of the organization, while they were watching YouTube. They reached out to Aaron in need of a “helper hand” for Dakylie. Dakylie was only two weeks old when she was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect which unfortunately caused her to lose her fingers on her right hand. After speaking with the family, it was determined one of the best options for Dakylie is an open-sourced design from e-Nable, called the ‘Phoenix Hand’. This democratization of prosthetic design and creation allows people all around the world, including the team at Form5, to customize and create a prosthetic hand with minimal costs for materials. The team at Form5 is currently working with Dakylie and her family to design her first prosthetic hand, and she recently received her first prototype in the mail, and Form5 will continue to modify and customize at Dakylie’s request.
Another recent change to prosthetic design is the development of task-specific prosthetics, and Form5 has three recipients looking for designs based on a specific need. Often the mindset in the past was to replace a missing limb/hand with almost a mannequin style arm or hand; while it may “look normal” the actual design doesn’t allow the recipient to use it in daily tasks. For example, Andrew is a young boy who wants to be able to hold and reel in his own fishing rod. Andrew and his family contacted Form5 through a local Limb Difference group in Columbus, Ohio called “The Nub Club”. Form5 will be developing a prosthetic design for this specific task. The other task-specific design will be a prosthetic meant to help perform activities such as; kayaking, riding a bicycle or potentially a motorcycle. Although this recipient chose not be named, Form5 is currently in the research and development stage of this project and will continue to provide updates going into this Summer.
Form5’s 5th project is for the Founder himself, Aaron Westbrook. Aaron has a congenital limb difference, and was born without his right hand. He often finds a need for an arm/hand for fitness purposes, and would like to be able to do push ups comfortably. He is currently designing something spring-loaded and or researching flexible 3-D printer filaments so that he may perform more exercises symmetrically. Aaron hopes to further develop this concept and work with other recipients in the future to test this specific device.
The year began with Form5 officially becoming a non-profit, and now the next 5 projects are off and running. For more updates on our latest projects, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter & Instagram.