West Michigan man turns kids into superheros with special prosthetic

Posted at 12:00 PM, Sep 12, 2014
and last updated 2014-09-12 12:00:23-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-- It started as a business venture but turned into making a difference for some kids in need. Using a 3D printer, a West Michigan man is able to make prosthetic hands for children all over the world.

Turning kids into superheroes, that’s the power Aaron Brown has when he creates prosthetic hands for some special children.

Having always been excited by technology, Brown bought himself what he called a budget #D printer.

He became interested in helping kids in need when he found out about the organization called e-nable.

“I knew right away, owning a printer, I had to get involved.”

The organization, made up of therapists, designers and teachers to name a few volunteer their time and money to make prosthetic hands from 3D printers and donate them to families in need.

But Brown went a step further and created a super hero hand.

"A child might be embarrassed about a disability and all of a sudden they put on a superhero hand and they are just empowered, they're confident. It’s a wonderful thing.”

For thousands of dollars less, Brown creates these hands, which are useful for kids whose families don't have insurance.

They're printed in a day, no waiting list.

Brown debuted his creation at the Grand Rapids Makers Faire in August.

"The reaction was just wonderful and supportive and there were a couple tears," remembered Brown.

"It was just a heartfelt thing. The pride that comes along with it, being a superhero, who wouldn’t want that. I want that!”  *

The superhero hand costs about $50-100 to make, but is donated. The material used to make the hand is corn-based so it's completely safe for kids. Brown is also working with the Wounded Warrior Project to make military hands.

E-nable is hosting a conferenceat John Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore MD.