Step Up To The Plate With A Batting Hand By 3D Printing and 3D Laser Scanning
What's on deck?
Get your popcorn! Get your peanuts! Put on your caps and let’s “play ball!!!”. That’s right. It’s America’s favorite past-time (at least it used to be until video games and Facebook came out) There is nothing more exciting than going to a ball game (unless it’s the Kansas City Royals during a player strike). I don’t care what age; there is always something exciting to see. If it is Major League Baseball, then you might see a home run in the bottom of the ninth win the game. If it is just a little league game, you might be entertained more by the jerk dad who keeps yelling at the umpire. There will always be something. But wait, there is more! Something that you just might get to see someday will appear because of some ingenuity in 3D printing and 3D laser scanning services. It is a 3D printed arm prosthetic that can swing a bat! Wow!
We've seen it before
If you have payed any attention to sports over the years you know that there are some really unique athletes who make it to the big leagues. One of those athletes was Jim Abbot, who made his MLB debut for the California Angels in 1988. He was the guy who only had one arm and still became a major league pitcher. Talk about skill. The guy was striking batters out with one hand. I suppose, though, if he tried to play any other position, it would be too difficult. For example, if he tried to play shortstop or catcher, it would be virtually impossible for him to make a play like a full-bodied player. A pitcher need not be quick to make plays if he can just pitch real good. Batting would also be a problem. Or would it?
Making it happen
In fact, batting with a missing arm may not be a problem because of some ingenuity with 3D printing and 3D laser scanning services. In a high school in Massachusetts a school teacher wanted to help a middle school girl who needed a prosthetic hand. This was not like any prosthetic hand you had ever seen. This prosthetic hand was made to swing a baseball bat. To do it, they used 3D printing. A group of students worked with him to design it and make sure that it fit properly. The team had to do a few prototypes and trial prints until they finally were able to produce a well-fit prosthetic batting hand, and to do it they used a MakerBot Replicator 2X 3D printer .
The prosthetic 3D printed hand just goes to show what people can do with 3D printing and 3D laser scanning services. It also goes to show what students can learn about this technology, and it especially shows what kids can learn about putting these technologies to good use by solving real problems in life. Now that these kids have participated in this project, they will be motivated to think beyond this to find more interesting ways to use it. Maybe some day, when you go to the ballpark and hear “Batter up!”, and then see someone smack a homerun with a 3D printed prosthetic hand.