Five-year-old Cameron Haight, from Charlotte in North Carolina, USA, designs and 3D prints assistive hands for children. Currently, he has made over 44 devices for children in the US, Canada and Japan.
Cameron was born with amniotic band syndrome, a condition which caused webbing, deforming and amputations to his fingers and toes.
To overcome problems caused by his limb difference, Cameron and his mother, Sarah, paired up to build him a working prosthetic hand. They started 3D printing in 2016 when Cameron wanted to learn how to ride a bicycle.
He has since learnt to design and print hands for other children, and sketches out plans to renovate the hands himself.
“We have been making the e-NABLE hands for a while but one problem we found with them is that children struggle to grasp things like pencils,” says Sarah. “The hands do well with most gross motor functions but lack fine motor skill controls, so we wanted to fix that.”
Designing Invention Tool 5000
Cameron spent about 40 minutes on the drawing, then he and his mother improved the design and transferred it to design software. The creation process took a week.
His recent design ‘Invention Tool 5000’ helps children without fingers or a hand to hold kitchen utensils, mobiles phones, pens, pencils and more.
Cameron named his new creation this way because “you use your imagination to do different things with it” and it is “like a tool because it helps kids without hands do things easier”. The 5000 part is “because he’s five years old so 3000 needed to be 5000 or people might think he was three years old”.
He plans to try it as a swimming paddle when the pool opens up.
Changing Others’ Lives with Different Heroes
They have set up a non-profit called Different Heroes to raise money for their 3D printed hands and to support others with limb differences.
“He’s only five years old now, but he’s really good at it, he goes on the printer, finds the files, sizes, scales and prints them, then we assemble them – it’s really fun to watch him in action,” says Sarah.
“He’s the youngest one 3D printing hands of all the others that we’ve heard of and he loves putting them together as well.
“His favourite parts are printing the hands, watching the printer work away, and packing the hands up for others with special notes, gifts, stickers.
“The parts can take between six and 12 hours to print, per piece, but he will sit and watch it sometimes for a full six hours or more. Whenever we’re printing parts for other children he’s constantly asking whether it’s for a boy or a girl, what colour they want and really enjoys learning where the other kids are from.”
Thanks to these 3D printed hands, Cameron sees his deformity in a positive light calling it his ‘cool robot hand’ and is encouraging others to use them.
Learn more about Cameron’s story here: