3D printing and open-sourced design process is enabling motivated individuals to collaborate in new and exciting ways. Mechanical special effects artist Ivan Owen collaborates to solve the challenge of finger prosthetics for growing children through the combination of low-cost 3D printing and designs that grow with them.
Owen is based in Bellingham, Washington. Born in a small town in Alaska and raised in Redmond, he is a life-long resident of the Pacific Northwest. He operates MechMadness Designs, a costume and special effects company where he creates a wide range of art, but is particularly fond of re-purposing items into post-apocalyptic armor and creating unusual mechanical gadgets and musical instruments.
However, his focus now is based primarily around 3D printing and the positive effect that it can have on our future. His recent work included co-creating the Robohand prosthesis, a 3D generated mechanical hand the allowed both an adult and a child to regain the use of their damaged hands. The co-creators have published the design on Makerbot’s Thingiverse site as a digital file that can be used to produce the parts in a 3D printer. They have intentionally made the design public domain. Owen’s work was featured by Steve Hen on NPR’s Morning Edition. In addition to this he has worked with the University of Washington MESA Foundation to give their teachers basic knowledge in the area of 3D printing and design and how to carry it over to their sixth to twelfth grade students.