In recent years, technology has made incredible leaps and bounds that have made science fiction into science fact. Cell phones allow us to carry on international conversations with ease. The internet has completely shifted the way we see movies. And 3D printing is opening up a whole new world of possibilities. For one little boy, 3D printing not only gave him a hand, but the hand of Iron Man.
Rayden Kahae is a three-year-old living in Wailuku, Hawaii. A playful and happy little boy affectionately nicknamed Bubba, Rayden suffers from a rare birth defect known as ABS, Amniotic Band Syndrome. Essentially, it's a congenital disorder that prevented one of his hands from forming. His grandmother Rulan Waikiki told the local news that Rayden had begun to notice how this made him different. He began to wish for two hands like the other kids. But what he got was something even cooler. Rayden got an Iron Man hand.
An incredible group called Enable has made getting unique and low-cost prosthetics possible. Where commercially produced prosthetic hands can cost upwards of $40,000, Enable can make functional mechanical body-powered hands for as low as $50 a piece. This low-cost is thanks to the advent of 3D printing. But Rayden didn't just want any hand, he wanted one like Iron Man, fitting considering the superhero fought his own health concerns with advanced tech.
See Rayden unwrap his Iron Man hand in the video news report below:
The Iron Man Hand may not blast lasers or aid in flight, but it boasts the superhero's signature colors and has proved a life-changer for one little boy. "As soon as he put it on, and was able to close the hand, his face just lit up," Waikiki shared. "I'm not sure if you can hear it on the video, but he does say 'I can hold my own hand.'"
Enable has given this child--along with untold others--the chance to have two functioning hands. And at the shockingly low rates they offer, families won't go broke trying to keep a kid fitted with a mechanical prosthetic. But Enable's do-gooding didn't stop at making the Iron Man Hand for Rayden. They gave it to him free of charge. Enable is a non-profit, and you can learn more about them here.
It's always inspiring when superheroes can prove a real-life inspiration for kids. To revel in these warm feelings, check out the story of BatKid, or Chris Pratt's Guardians of the Galaxy hospital visit, or how Drax the Destroyer proved a role model for a young boy struggling with autism.