[EDIT "I AM HAPPY TO TAKE QUESTIONS ALL WEEKEND BUT WILL DISAPPEAR BACK INTO MY MAN CAVE ON MONDAY MORNING"

Hi, my name is Ben Ryan. Three years ago my son had a complicated birth that resulted in his left arm being amputated.

A few weeks ago I was blown away by the response a short film by /u/born_to_engineer which documented how I taught myself how to use Fusion 360 CAD design software to create a cheap prosthetic arm from a 3D scan got on /r/videos.

As a former Psychology teacher, I honestly believed that it was vital to intervene early to allow any child to adapt to life with an artificial arm but there was no help to get Sol a prosthetic arm until he was a year old. Even then, this would have been purely cosmetic - it wouldn't have been able to grab of hold anything

Instead of waiting I retrained myself as a design engineer. I combined relatively cheap 3D scanning and printing technology with a mish-mash of DIY store parts to create a prototype of an arm and hand that can grip and had a moveable thumb.

I have learned about Computer-aided design (CAD) 3D printing and post-processing techniques, molding, casting and 3D scanning and how all these technologies might prove life-changing for very young children right from the start.

I will be online until 3pm GMT but will try to respond to everyone.

Here is my proof.

Here is a link to the original video

A few images of me and Sol.

You can also find out more about my company ambionics which is seeking grants/funding/investment to further research applications for this type of technology

For anyone interested in teaching themselves to become a design engineer, I highly recommend Autodesk Fusion 360 which is free to use (with conditions) and has a thriving community of engineers and designers who are happy to help you on your way – you can get started here instructions for hobbyists

Comments: 576 • Responses: 93  • Date: 

mostlyyf1494 karma

How does your wife feel about your freelance career as a small arms manufacturer? Edit: Thank you kind stranger!

BenRyan_SolsDad684 karma

Good one. I think she wishes that I earned more money!!

AppleDane302 karma

So you should graduate from manufacturer to arms dealer?

BenRyan_SolsDad531 karma

I prefer 'international arms dealer' :)

-CrestiaBell8 karma

You should make one that like has its own heating system and call them firearms :)

BenRyan_SolsDad9 karma

lol

kapuskapse365 karma

How do you plan to deal with the arm as he grows in size?

BenRyan_SolsDad601 karma

The health care provider here (NHS) see fit to provide two sockets (new arms) per year. I don't think that's enough. His little arm is bigger or some days than others. Now that I make his arms instead I keep spare sockets of slightly different sizes to help with this issue and just keep an eye on how tight it is. The initial prosthetic he was given by the NHS was a big problem at first. Some days it fit well, other days it was too loose. I worked around this buy cutting the top of a rubber glove to create a flexible band. Underneath that Sol wore prosthetic socks of various thicknesses to suit. The sock and rubber wasnt ideal but was an effective workaround.

kapuskapse266 karma

That's amazing! You're a great dad!!

BenRyan_SolsDad591 karma

The really amazing parents are the ones still sat by their kids bedsides in childrens hospitals all around the world. I feel lucky that it was 'just' his arm :(

Ragnosh95 karma

Hi Ben! I work in the prosthetic field and just want to chime in, if it were up to us we'd be making more sockets for babies a year. We understand that they grow quickly but there are Government policies in place for two sockets a year for everyone as well as limits on other items we can give out. We're fighting these policies constantly as everyone is different and people can grow and shrink in a year. So I think it's super cool you did this all yourself, 3D printing is the next step I believe but the durability just isn't there yet. Keep it up though! You're a great dad.

BenRyan_SolsDad69 karma

Th durability is there. I would put one of my sockets up against an NHS socket any day :)

BenRyan_SolsDad64 karma

In fact its stronger and lighter!

Ragnosh19 karma

I have to be honest I only saw the picture of your prosthetic because I was at work, I just got home and watched your video. I'm from Canada and I'm not too sure the components they have over there for children but whoever gave Sol a hook hand is fucking mental, a lot of components we use here in Canada look a lot like what you've made, I can take a picture next time I'm at the shop, but yeah I literally said what the fuck when I saw what they originally gave you. Have you thought about opening up you're own shop for strictly children's prosthetics?

BenRyan_SolsDad16 karma

Yes I set up a company and have a patent pending. www.ambionics.co.uk Sol's prosthetic catalogue is RSL Steeper based out of Leeds here in the UK.

IncelSwellTells5 karma

control his sodium and sugar and his arms won't be different sizes each day unless he grows.

edit:My sister had a prosthetic diet is very important

BenRyan_SolsDad3 karma

Thanks!

2wheelsinheels214 karma

What an amazing dad you are! Are you willing to share the details of your sons birth?

How did his doctors react once you made it/put it to use?

BenRyan_SolsDad289 karma

Sorry didn't answer the second part. Sol's prosthetist said that he has never seen a child take so well to prosthetics from birth. The way he uses it is so intuitive. It is 'his arm'

2wheelsinheels104 karma

Amazing! I'm sorry about his birth and glad you are taking action. He's lucky to have you!

BenRyan_SolsDad163 karma

It's the other way around believe me. He is one amazing little boy <3

funtrixy9 karma

You may be tired of hearing it but YOU'RE AN AMAZING DAD!

BenRyan_SolsDad9 karma

Thanks. I have to say in turn that it's because I too have an amazing Dad. He has been so supportive. Mum too. They are proud of Sol and I. That makes me feel good :)

private_pants32 karma

Prosthetist here, but I know nothing about psychology. Do you think that all children would pick up the skills that quickly? Or does it depend on the child?

cabarne437 karma

Not an expert, but kids minds are like sponges. They learn incredibly quickly. I have no doubt in my mind that an average child could learn how to use a prosthetic fairly quickly, but the speed of learning is obviously dependent on the child.

There are tons of studies on things like language learning, that show just how young minds learn and develop. Most skills are learned through repetition / reinforcement. By giving the child basic tasks (blocks to stack, coloring, etc), a child could easily learn how to use a prosthetic arm.

private_pants11 karma

At under 12 months old, the question is does it need to be that early? Or, from a cost perspective, is it better to wait until they are a little older, but still just as receptive to new ideas?

Have you abandoned the NHS route, or is that running in parallel to your own product development?

Sorry, this sounds a lot like the Spanish inquisition. It's just that yours is the first arm I've seen that is potentially viable and as functional as current technology.

cabarne45 karma

Sorry, not OP. Just have read a lot of research about kids ability to learn. I actually went to a Spanish-speaking elementary school in the US, so I have some personal experience with how quickly kids learn.

Under 12 months, it's mostly learning basic motor skills. Depending on the control the kid has in the remaining limb, it's possible the kid could learn control of a prosthetic -- "move this muscle, and the hand closes". Early exposure is good, but under 12 months, it'd be pretty dependent on the kid's ability to learn. Certainly possible for a kid to learn control of a prosthetic though..

Also to note: Kids do a LOT of growing. You'd have to constantly be making new sockets as the kid grew older. Maybe OP could design a sort of clam shell socket, that'd have some adjustment in it, allowing for longer use of the same socket.

I'm on mobile right now, so it's difficult for me to share sources, but if you're interested in the topic, a simple search will show you hundreds / thousands of studies on how quickly kids learn, at what ages certain skills are able to be learned, and more. I don't recall the specific numbers, but some studies go into detail about when a child begins to grasp the concept of language, and absorb it via listening and repeating.

BenRyan_SolsDad7 karma

Research Rationale Synaptic elimination (pruning) is the process where unused nerves are ‘cut out’ if they are not used. The brain systematically destroys itself in order to increase efficiency. It is literally a case of “use it or lose it”. Whilst some pruning continues throughout our lives, the most intensive period occurs during the first two and a half years. Another notable period of pruning occurs with the onset of adolescence. Much more is known about this than the earlier period due to the complexities of the newborn brain, its rate of development and its small size. For the adolescent period, it is well known that skills such as sports, music, dance (and even language) that have not been learned before the pruning period starts will become significantly more difficult to learn afterwards (if at all).
Ben is seeking to understand whether the same is true in congenital amputees who have not mastered the use of a functional arm before the initial pruning period ends. This could perhaps explain why many infants tend to reject prosthetics at around the age of two and a half years only to re-engage in the more self conscious teenage years which is then often too late. Since the extent of the pruning is partly a product of time, it surely makes sense that practicing any skill (including the use of prosthetics) in the first two and a half years, will be more successful if introduced as early as physically (and technologically) possible. “Nerves that fire together - wire together” Each time a child like Sol strikes their toys using a foam arm or when they hold their toys with an artificial hand, many different pathways of nerves in the brain will fire together. Signals from limb movements become associated with signals in the visual system for the same event (i.e. a toy moving in response to being struck). The same is true when a young infant, who has just learned to sit up, learns to choose which toys ‘can’ and ‘cannot’ be reached (depending on where the toys are in relation to them). However if a an infant at this age learns that objects on the affected side can be manipulated (even by sticking with Velcro then re-handling) then that learning will carry through into the next phase where basic, mechanical grabbing movements can be introduced (i.e. holding a book steady whilst the other hand turns pages). Without function infants learn to neglect objects they cannot influence (outside their perceived area of influence) in favour of ones they can. Ben felt it was important to phase one stage into another as soon as possible in a fun and relaxed way. The cumulative effects (over the first year) of Ben’s early intervention should improve motor function, proprioception and spatial awareness (of the affected side), hand-eye coordination, muscle tone and improved readiness to engage with more sophisticated prosthetic devices at a later stage. It certainly looks to be a promising field of research. For a good description of what synaptic pruning is and how it affects human development, please follow this link: https://youtu.be/b5y2HyD-wH0

BenRyan_SolsDad4 karma

Here you go. I have copied this from an article about Sol

"Research Rationale Synaptic elimination (pruning) is the process where unused nerves are ‘cut out’ if they are not used. The brain systematically destroys itself in order to increase efficiency. It is literally a case of “use it or lose it”. Whilst some pruning continues throughout our lives, the most intensive period occurs during the first two and a half years. Another notable period of pruning occurs with the onset of adolescence. Much more is known about this than the earlier period due to the complexities of the newborn brain, its rate of development and its small size. For the adolescent period, it is well known that skills such as sports, music, dance (and even language) that have not been learned before the pruning period starts will become significantly more difficult to learn afterwards (if at all).
Ben is seeking to understand whether the same is true in congenital amputees who have not mastered the use of a functional arm before the initial pruning period ends. This could perhaps explain why many infants tend to reject prosthetics at around the age of two and a half years only to re-engage in the more self conscious teenage years which is then often too late. Since the extent of the pruning is partly a product of time, it surely makes sense that practicing any skill (including the use of prosthetics) in the first two and a half years, will be more successful if introduced as early as physically (and technologically) possible. “Nerves that fire together - wire together” Each time a child like Sol strikes their toys using a foam arm or when they hold their toys with an artificial hand, many different pathways of nerves in the brain will fire together. Signals from limb movements become associated with signals in the visual system for the same event (i.e. a toy moving in response to being struck). The same is true when a young infant, who has just learned to sit up, learns to choose which toys ‘can’ and ‘cannot’ be reached (depending on where the toys are in relation to them). However if a an infant at this age learns that objects on the affected side can be manipulated (even by sticking with Velcro then re-handling) then that learning will carry through into the next phase where basic, mechanical grabbing movements can be introduced (i.e. holding a book steady whilst the other hand turns pages). Without function infants learn to neglect objects they cannot influence (outside their perceived area of influence) in favour of ones they can. Ben felt it was important to phase one stage into another as soon as possible in a fun and relaxed way. The cumulative effects (over the first year) of Ben’s early intervention should improve motor function, proprioception and spatial awareness (of the affected side), hand-eye coordination, muscle tone and improved readiness to engage with more sophisticated prosthetic devices at a later stage. It certainly looks to be a promising field of research. For a good description of what synaptic pruning is and how it affects human development, please follow this link: https://youtu.be/b5y2HyD-wH0 "

flexible_concrete4 karma

Is this in part because of the literal sponge you put on his arm while he was in the crib? Can you explain that a little bit? I was really intrigued by how Sol started batting at his toys with it.

BenRyan_SolsDad6 karma

Here you go

"Research Rationale Synaptic elimination (pruning) is the process where unused nerves are ‘cut out’ if they are not used. The brain systematically destroys itself in order to increase efficiency. It is literally a case of “use it or lose it”. Whilst some pruning continues throughout our lives, the most intensive period occurs during the first two and a half years. Another notable period of pruning occurs with the onset of adolescence. Much more is known about this than the earlier period due to the complexities of the newborn brain, its rate of development and its small size. For the adolescent period, it is well known that skills such as sports, music, dance (and even language) that have not been learned before the pruning period starts will become significantly more difficult to learn afterwards (if at all).
Ben is seeking to understand whether the same is true in congenital amputees who have not mastered the use of a functional arm before the initial pruning period ends. This could perhaps explain why many infants tend to reject prosthetics at around the age of two and a half years only to re-engage in the more self conscious teenage years which is then often too late. Since the extent of the pruning is partly a product of time, it surely makes sense that practicing any skill (including the use of prosthetics) in the first two and a half years, will be more successful if introduced as early as physically (and technologically) possible. “Nerves that fire together - wire together” Each time a child like Sol strikes their toys using a foam arm or when they hold their toys with an artificial hand, many different pathways of nerves in the brain will fire together. Signals from limb movements become associated with signals in the visual system for the same event (i.e. a toy moving in response to being struck). The same is true when a young infant, who has just learned to sit up, learns to choose which toys ‘can’ and ‘cannot’ be reached (depending on where the toys are in relation to them). However if a an infant at this age learns that objects on the affected side can be manipulated (even by sticking with Velcro then re-handling) then that learning will carry through into the next phase where basic, mechanical grabbing movements can be introduced (i.e. holding a book steady whilst the other hand turns pages). Without function infants learn to neglect objects they cannot influence (outside their perceived area of influence) in favour of ones they can. Ben felt it was important to phase one stage into another as soon as possible in a fun and relaxed way. The cumulative effects (over the first year) of Ben’s early intervention should improve motor function, proprioception and spatial awareness (of the affected side), hand-eye coordination, muscle tone and improved readiness to engage with more sophisticated prosthetic devices at a later stage. It certainly looks to be a promising field of research. For a good description of what synaptic pruning is and how it affects human development, please follow this link: https://youtu.be/b5y2HyD-wH0 "

BenRyan_SolsDad227 karma

I am taking the hospital to court for negligence. Can't say too much but it is a fact that the clot found in his upper arm was a white fibrous clot that only forms when an artery is damaged. We think it was the forceps.

Insert_Non_Sequitur23 karma

Forceps... I'm having flashbacks. Hug your wife for me, I found those the worst part of the whole birthing experience for me.

BenRyan_SolsDad23 karma

<3

liarandathief115 karma

What does he think? Does he have any requests for the next model? Is there something you're currently working to add/improve?

BenRyan_SolsDad280 karma

That's a really good question. Initially it was very frustrating trying to work with Sol because, as you can imagine, one year old's don't say much at all. The first communication of any value came when I made the blue (fixed hand) arm using a new technique for modelling the socket. It was more the look on his face than anything but he slid his arm into the socket and I knew that it 'felt right' for him. He said 'wow it fits properly'. In terms of the design - it had to be appealing for him. I always vowed that I would never chase him around trying to get him to wear one of my devices. I had to make it look 'cool' for him to want it. I found that just by playing with it in front of him was enough to make him want to try it on. He was dead set on a red arm but red is the worst colour for UV fading. He watched starwars for the first time two weeks ago. I didn't think he was taking any of it in but when it finished he surprised me by saying 'I want to be a Jedi and I want a Light Sabre'.. I feel a starwars themed arm would be well received :) Aside from that his favourite theme is 'Paw Patrol'

In terms of adding things - yes lots. I want to add a torch and a secret storage compartment in the near future. Myself , Melissa Dall and Paul Sohi are also working on a very basic myoelectric arm using the arm and hand I am using for the passives and hydraulic arms. It will feature a moveable thumb and a rotational wrist.

[edit typo]

liarandathief83 karma

That sounds awesome. You're a good dad.

BenRyan_SolsDad65 karma

Thanks.

Vullein07062 karma

Dude just. Wow.

You're the best dad ever haha I don't know anyone else who would do all of this for their child. You're amazing.

BenRyan_SolsDad77 karma

I'm just getting warmed up :)

There really has never been a better time to get into engineering. I have to say I LOVE IT :)

PompeyJon8286 karma

What happens if it breaks can it quickly be fixed?

BenRyan_SolsDad175 karma

I can make him another overnight if the worst should happen. Its 3.2 mm thick ABS plastic around the socket and 7 mm thick on the hand. Imagine a Lego brick with 3.2 mm thick walls. Pretty indestructable!

GLGuyGardner82 karma

Oh my! Lego you say? Think of the accessories and attachments! Coolest kid in his class, EASY!

BenRyan_SolsDad86 karma

Yes Lego chose ABS to make their bricks with. Strong and non reactive with the skin.

GLGuyGardner19 karma

You really need to add some Lego style bumps to the prosthetic! Maybe thats just the lego/comic book fan in me, but I would be making cannons and Wolverine claws all day long if given chance.

Please adopt me!

maleia3 karma

Pfft, effe that, you need Technic holes! That's the good stuff if you wanna build on.

BenRyan_SolsDad3 karma

Damn straight!

dinofeeshie2 karma

Be careful when he's learning how to cook! Cooking oil tends to melt/corrode ABS plastic fairly quickly (found out the hard way :( )

BenRyan_SolsDad5 karma

Hot cooking oil doesn't do much for skin either!! Thanks though!

PrintingVen5 karma

what size nozzle are you printing with? It would take me more than a few days on my printer to knock out something of a similar size.

BenRyan_SolsDad5 karma

0.4 steel nozzle on the ABS printer. Sockets take 6 or 7 hours but I use variable settings now on S3D. The hands (will probably be injection molded going forward) take five hours. The fingers are moulded from polyurethane (Shore 90) and take 8 hours but doesn't hog the printer. The thumb body takes two hours. The bellows take 38 minutes to print and the actuator is a pain in the arse!!! I have to print five separate pieces of PVA (an inner and an outer cast joined only at the neck to create a negative of the actuator which is then filled with polyurethane (Shore 30) and then the PVA is dissolved away after the cure. I think I may have invented this technique because I haven't found anything about it online and none of the research institutes I have spoken with have either. Might be a first. Anyway it works but I only have 20 hours of usable life with a roll of PVA before it needs baking in the oven again for 6 hours at 60 degrees c.

PrintingVen2 karma

The casting method sounds interesting, similar to lost casting in a sense. Funnily I my first ever silicone/resin kit arrived yesterday, I'm yet to get started. Did you find much trial and error or easy enough with the casting?

BenRyan_SolsDad3 karma

I wasted like a month getting it right

novisstatic84 karma

What forms of analysis did you perform on the arm?

Fellow design engineer here! :D

BenRyan_SolsDad123 karma

Admittedly I am a total Noob. I am visiting the school of engineering at Warwick University next week to begin collaborating with some proper engineers. I've done a lot myself but this does need professional input. I am just getting to grips with Fusion 360 simulations...

novisstatic70 karma

While you're there, I recommend asking what forms of analysis they recommend performing on the arm.

I've never worked on something with as much human interface as a limb, as I work design for the Space Launch System. But I would think you might want to perform FEA, or Finite Element Analysis, to see what kind of stresses/deflections the arm would see under various loads. Nastran and Patran are good if they've got it at the University, and you can get it.

Glad to see someone picking up new skills and trying engineering on their own! :)

BenRyan_SolsDad45 karma

Yes I did that already but how accurate is it to tell Fusion 'this is 7mm thick ABS plastic' when its printed in layers (Even though they have been acetone vapor smoothed - its not 100% homogenous material surely?) I have a feeling that the hands will be injection moulded instead because the socket itself does not need to be certified only the standardised parts which attach to it.. I think!

aresfour16 karma

What's your infill percentage? I would think current software would be able to accommodate 3D printed objects....

BenRyan_SolsDad21 karma

Yes but it cant account for issues with layer adhesion. The only infill is in the hand and thumb. Think I use 8%

Rhynocerous18 karma

You are correct that 3D printed parts are highly anisotropic (this is what you mean by "not homogenous." The material properties are not the same in every direction) These parts fail due to fracture in the Z-axis because the polymer cannot fully "weld" together and there are voids between the rasters (the traces the nozzle prints.) The models that predict this failure are not perfect but the fracture strength can be obtained experimentally and there are several strengthening mechanisms being developed to mitigate the problem. It's the biggest issue limiting functional mechanical FDM parts.

If you shoot me a PM I can get you in touch with some of the research groups developing these techniques ranging from commercial to fundamental research. I am a mechanical engineer working in this field.

BenRyan_SolsDad4 karma

Awesome. I will just give you my email here and maybe we can connect when things die down a little. My inbox pings every 30 seconds since the CNN article!

GrizFyrFyter148 karma

I have several 3d printers and they often have free time. Is there a service where I can donate my time and materials to supply prints for prosthetics?

BenRyan_SolsDad41 karma

Not at the moment but the way Ambionics is evolving then hopefully soon.

ShouldaSentAPoet26 karma

I hope OP won't mind me jumping in here. Take a look at http://enablingthefuture.org. They might benefit from your idle printers creating prosthetics!

BenRyan_SolsDad7 karma

Not at all - e-NABLE are an amazing organisation. We featured together in an article this week on CNN http://edition.cnn.com/…/ambionics-prosthetic-arm/index.html

bse5037 karma

As somebody who had to design his own prosthetic piece along with a designer friend (just a bone, thank goodness)... Have you considered covering that side of custom prosthesis as well?
Bionic limbs are cool but many people could benefit from smaller custom solutions and the cash could help you stay afloat.In my case the surgeon chickened out the day before the operation but still...

BenRyan_SolsDad49 karma

I have a laser focus at the moment but want to get into all things 3D - scanning faces to make glasses that fit perfectly, orthopaedic inserts for running shoes.. the lot. Need to focus on Sol's needs now though and build up slowly from there. I have made a great connection through the Royal College of Arts in London though who makes ADDITIONAL fingers for regular hands... Amazing stuff. As a guitarist I would love an extra thumb next to my little finger!

bse5016 karma

Thanks for the answer!
The friend who helped me design the little prosthetic piece I needed is currently doing exactly what you suggested with glasses\spectacles and lots of 3d printing! I might have him contact you if you wish!

BenRyan_SolsDad9 karma

Yes by all means!

8urfiat35 karma

As he gets older do you plan on making different arms for different tasks?

BenRyan_SolsDad68 karma

Well my friend Shalom in SF is working on the most advanced prosthesis in the world - Check it out here https://vimeo.com/160162967

Although it is being designed for his son Theo, who has much more forearm than Sol, I hope one day Sol can wear something like this. Hopefully not long after Theo receives his arm, I will be placing an order through Smart Bionics.

Hell I might even get one for myself its that cool :)

axlotl124 karma

How did you learn how to 3D print and use the necessary software?

Also, what should someone who wants to get into 3D printing do to learn everything about printing?

Edit: I just saw the last paragraph of your post

BenRyan_SolsDad47 karma

I just did it. I have always been the kind of person to try to do things myself. In the age of YouTube ANYONE can learn ANYTHING. My biggest mistake was waiting as long as I did before contacting Autodesk for help. Once I did that things just flew.

I started to teach myself CAD design in July last year and bought my own printers last June. I built the first one myself (Prusa Mk2 s) so that I knew how it all worked then the second one arrived fully assembled. If you are interested in getting into 3D printing then may I suggest subscribing to this guy https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCb8Rde3uRL1ohROUVg46h1A

What Tom doesn't know about 3D printing - isn't worth knowing anyway. :)

axlotl19 karma

Thanks for answering! I'm looking to get into it now since printer prices have been lowering. Do you have a preferred printer or is it the same? (I know that there are differences in terms of extrusion and the way it prints but I mean in terms of overall quality)

BenRyan_SolsDad23 karma

I am not sponsored or paid to say this - it's my own view based on my own experience. Prusa make the best desktop FDM printers in the world. You get $4,000 functionality for around $1,000. I have two of their machines. One is in a purpose built enclosure for ABS printing and the other is for PVA, Flex, PLA etc. I opted for the multi material upgrade too and think that any business would be wise to invest in Simplify 3D. I have easily saved the time and money to justify the price of this software. Version 4.0 is amazing

zorororo1624 karma

What is the cost of maintenance and everything? Can it touch water? Can your son be able to swim? Would he be able to do extreme sports such as skydiving and bungee jumping with the arm attached?

BenRyan_SolsDad59 karma

Yes he wears it in the bath. All the fittings are stainless steel. One of my design considerations (compared to electrical devices) was that it had to be totally safe with everything you expect from the under threes. Spilt drinks, vomit etc...

Yes he's been swimming with it too and actually makes better progress with than without. Kate and I decided that we want him to learn to swim without the arm though for obvious reasons.. we live on an island

BenRyan_SolsDad16 karma

How do you mean when you say the cost of maintenance?

Rexamicum8 karma

Repairs, replacement and modification.

BenRyan_SolsDad6 karma

The arms I make outlast their usefulness. He falls over and smashes it against rocks.. actively tries to destroy it in tantrums and more besides. It holds its own surprisingly well. The last socket was very weak though and the hand fell off. I changed the design and increased the strength whilst actually shaving 35 grams off the finished weight. Has been great since

CoSonfused21 karma

wen are you going to add the weapons? like lighsabers, gatlinguns and sporks?

BenRyan_SolsDad21 karma

My good friend Paul Sohi is working on the lasers.... ;)

_Blood_Fart_21 karma

What does he do with 3 arms?

BenRyan_SolsDad58 karma

What do you do with three pairs of shoes? I try to think of it as wearable tech like footwear.

_Blood_Fart_38 karma

ask my wife.

BenRyan_SolsDad30 karma

lol

CrilleMega15 karma

Maybe a stupid question, but How is he able to move the fingers, cobsidering that the arm is lost and that he never learned how to use his left hand?

BenRyan_SolsDad23 karma

The part of the brain that codes for hand movements will likely have diversified into another function now. The brain is an energy intensive piece of kit and ruthless in its self organisation to achieve efficiency. I think I have managed to save a few pathways because of the intervention at 5 weeks of age but he will be able to learn (or rather a future arm will learn) how to turn the signals it receives into finger movements.

Spangulum14 karma

Assuming you get the required investment (and I hope you do!) where do you see Ambionics in the future? What do you hope to achieve?

BenRyan_SolsDad26 karma

I think we will get it and use it to certificate the arms I make as class II medical devices. I will sell privately to individuals around the world and also try to license the tech to other suppliers. I'm getting a lot of interest for this. I will also be open sourcing the technology I make that doesnt relate to the patent - I'm making a myo-electric for three year olds - that will be open source and the functional passives too (what Sol wears every day) will be open sourced.

Shelnutts13 karma

Hi Ben, love what you're doing by the way. It's so inspiring to see how much you love your son and the path you've taken despite any complications.

Would you consider a short collaboration with other arm designs? We are a group of 4 college engineers at UC Berkeley addressing new 3D printable prosthetic arm designs and would appreciate your first-hand perspective on our designs. Thanks!

BenRyan_SolsDad13 karma

I am here to help as much as I can. I have received so much goodwill that I feel strongly obliged to be open about everything I do and help as many others as possible to share what I have learned. Please email me on [email protected]

Sudija3312 karma

Could you make uhm, other prosthetic uhmmm... Appendages...? ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

BenRyan_SolsDad29 karma

Send me a scan lol

BenRyan_SolsDad87 karma

No dont I was joking!

BenRyan_SolsDad12 karma

lol

slinkit9 karma

Buzzfeed's homepage tomorrow:

Grow 6 inches overnight with this incredible hack!

BenRyan_SolsDad3 karma

Just did an interview with Buzzfeed tonight :)

Aricil11 karma

You wouldn't download a prosthetic arm, would you?

BenRyan_SolsDad2 karma

Erm no. I dont like the idea of wearing 'universal' prosthetics that strap on. The medical standard is to create a bespoke socket so that's what I have always designed towards

ProfessorPeterr11 karma

First, what you did for him is amazing and inspiring. Second, how much does an arm cost to make and have you considered starting a prosthetic company if the cost is cheap? <thinking about you being able to drive costs down on an otherwise expensive industry>

BenRyan_SolsDad10 karma

Already ahead of you!! Check out my website www.ambionics.co.uk :)

watscracking8 karma

Great work. Is Sol short for Solomon? That's my son's name and we call him Sol :)

I'm sure you went through so many emotions when this happened, but what a great way to actually do something, this must have been very empowering.

BenRyan_SolsDad42 karma

No he was born 90 minutes before a total solar eclipse... what else could I call him. Sadly when he needed attention many doctors and nurses were out watching the event :(

tammoth6 karma

Jeez there has got to be some sort of rules against that type of negligence

BenRyan_SolsDad24 karma

I wish I could go into more detail here. It gets much worse than that. After the case I will possibly write a book about this

Rihsatra0 karma

You could have probably not waited until the last second to decide on a name.

BenRyan_SolsDad3 karma

Just couldnt agree on a name. Sol is perfect though

mobius1ace56 karma

Ben, awesome story! Love the work you put in and thankfully you ended up with printers that did not suck! I know you're making the arm out of ABS based on posts here but have you considered PETG? It doesn't need an enclosure, does not stink, it's recycled, and it's Tg is almost the same as abs, so it can handle the heat and such. Switched over to it in my business a long time ago and never looked back.

If you ever have questions about printing or design feel free to reach out. I own a professional service bureau and would be honored to help out someone with as good of a heart as you! Nice work!

BenRyan_SolsDad10 karma

I have a cunning plan.... I cant say too much but hope the sockets will be polypropylene :)

BenRyan_SolsDad9 karma

PETG cant be smoothed either. Because of the glossy finish from acetone vapor smoothed ABS, I can actually pick Sol up with his arm. No straps. No harness. Just suction!

BenRyan_SolsDad7 karma

Check out my prototyping vids on Instagram :)

https://www.instagram.com/benryan_ambionics/?hl=en

mobius1ace54 karma

Ooooh PP is a good material, hard to work with though. I might suggest PC-ASA first if you want to play in those types of materials. You'll definitely need the enclosure for either of those! Good luck though, keep us informed. Would be honored for you to post your progress and everything over in /r/additivemanufacturing where most of us are industry professionals.

BenRyan_SolsDad12 karma

I'm so tempted to tell you stuff but I am under NDA... frustrating!!

BenRyan_SolsDad15 karma

AMAA - ask me ALMOST anything :)

mobius1ace54 karma

PM me, I'm happy to sign one as well. I own a professional service bureau, these kind of things are no surprise lol. 80% of the work I do is covered under someones NDA.. makes marketing hard lol

BenRyan_SolsDad6 karma

I am about to partner up with a big firm and this is proprietary stuff. Its not 'standard' PP....

BenRyan_SolsDad8 karma

All will be revealed soon enough :)

mobius1ace55 karma

I'm hoping it's 3dx tech. If not, you might want to give them a call. Matt specializes in the plastic game and makes some of the best materials out there for really good prices. He also has a service bureau aspect and has done some PEI parts for me in the past.

BenRyan_SolsDad5 karma

Thanks for the heads up :)

kikimaru0245 karma

With the recent news that Microsoft is discontinuing production of the Kinect, what do you feel will be alternatives to use in the future?

BenRyan_SolsDad9 karma

I recently connected with a student in Edinburgh who is developing something very special that aligns with what I'm doing. There are lots of kinects around for now - another thing to consider is that every smart phone will have scanning capability in the next two years or so. The kinect is possibly temporary but ideal because it's so cheap

CricketFreedom5 karma

How have you trained him/adjusted him to life with a new arm?

BenRyan_SolsDad8 karma

I created exercises for him to do as part of little games that we play. if its a chore kids wont do it. He learned to crawl wearing a prosthetic so its totally intuitive for him now

Totally_Bradical2 karma

The only thing my dad ever made for me was a parachute for my Chuck Norris action figure. The parachute failed almost immediately and broke Chuck's leg off. My question is this: OP, why do you feel the need to make my father look like shit?

BenRyan_SolsDad3 karma

Does Chuck need a new leg? I can help...

Pootigottam2 karma

Hey. Were you on the new Russell Howard show in the Good Deeds section a few weeks back or was that somebody else?

BenRyan_SolsDad2 karma

Dont think so

TheRadamsmash2 karma

After you gave your son his new arm, did he give you his first ever round of applause?

BenRyan_SolsDad5 karma

See for yourself here :)

https://youtu.be/X1tGhIGdlwM

BenRyan_SolsDad3 karma

I think it was a high five...

aultumn2 karma

What a wonderful thing! I'm inspired by your resolve. How much was invested in the fabrication of the device?

BenRyan_SolsDad3 karma

Time or money?

king-cabbage2 karma

I know it may sound silly but have you considered adding attachments to advance the arms usability? Say for example a socket for a spoon when feeding him or adding a little Bluetooth speaker in it so you can connect and play music to find him in a crowd? Or of course you can always add a flamethrower?

BenRyan_SolsDad2 karma

Yes. I haven't done it yet but felt sorry for him trying to hold his knife with it last night at the dinner table :(

_Legendairy_2 karma

Did you also invest the 3D printed Peanut Butter and Graham Cracker Sandwich?

BenRyan_SolsDad3 karma

All the time

BachePoro1 karma

Are there any risks when using self printed ABS prosthetics? I think it's discouraged to use self printed plastics in some applications like containers for food etc.

Children like to put everything in their mouth. Is this a concern?

BenRyan_SolsDad7 karma

The big concern with printed plastics is that they are porous. I melt the plastic in an acetone vappor to give a food grade / wipe clean glossy finish. HTH

BenRyan_SolsDad7 karma

Lego is made of ABS and suitable for young kids. These are only prototypes but Sol has not had a bad reaction. I print through a steel nozzle rather than brass to eliminate the lead traces from brass ones

FooFighter02341 karma

Will you be turning this into a business and printing arms for other kids?

BenRyan_SolsDad2 karma

Yes I did exactly that. Check it out here www.ambionics.co.uk

THECrappieKiller1 karma

Did your wife give you "special" treatment for being such a good father?

BenRyan_SolsDad5 karma

I live in the Gargage / workshop with the dog. Does that answer your question?

TheTeky5001 karma

Do you ever worry that he might be bullied in school if he were to keep that arm to middle school/high school? Or do you think they'll just think it's cool and become friends with him instead? In general, do you ever worry if you have really succeeded in making your child not feel different at all?

I am not trying to take away from your achievements, you're surely a very, very kind person, who didn't mind working the hardest he could under dire circumstances so his son could have a good life; I respect that!

If you don't mind, another question, do you ever fear the fact that you might die a bit too early in an accident or whatnot, or get a disease such as cancer that can prevent what you're trying to do right now?

I know this sounds like a very pesemistic and negative view, I totally understand if you don't want to answer this.

BenRyan_SolsDad4 karma

I was damned either way I think. This felt right. I am raising him as best I can to have a thick skin but a gentle touch.. BTW he has a hell of a wallop with that arm and is part of a Karate club ;)

Evref1 karma

Are you aware that you look like another Ben- Ben Gibbard?

BenRyan_SolsDad2 karma

Nope!

trashsnatch1 karma

What's your favorite dairy product?

BenRyan_SolsDad2 karma

Cambozola

anp702541 karma

What were some of the major challenges you encounter in the process of learning and creating the prosthetic arm for your son?

BenRyan_SolsDad2 karma

It was like trying to hit a moving target. My skills weren't developing as quickly as Sol could outgrow my prototypes. That and funding.

michalfabik1 karma

Somebody already mentioned Lego. Do you plan on making arms with some modular features, mount points for tools/sports equipment, hidden compartments, anything of that sort?

BenRyan_SolsDad2 karma

Yes I'd like that :)

Getting the basics right for now though. Start simple and build in the complexity

RPFM1 karma

"His son's a prosthetic arm"? Like multiple sons have lost their arm?

BenRyan_SolsDad2 karma

I know!!!!!! Feel like a right idiot :(

Plinko_Challenge0 karma

Do you plan on neutering your dog?

BenRyan_SolsDad1 karma

No. I'd like to breed him. He is 3/4 doberman 1/4 labrador. Great friend and gentle giant.

mostspitefulguy-1 karma

IS your sons name Sol?

BenRyan_SolsDad2 karma

Yes :)

nicebonestew-4 karma

I've got to hand it to you. Armed with just a computer and some know how, you really handled this situation well. Kudos to you and your little boy. You've armed him with enough courage and confidence for the rest of his life. On one hand he's gone through a lot, but on the other hand he's going to come out on top. I applaud your efforts. Now the question: do you feel that your son will be able to get his arms around the situation as he matures?

BenRyan_SolsDad5 karma

Were those hand references back handed sarcasm or unintentional? lol. I have no idea what the future holds. I hope I have done enough to stop the pattern of rejection that I found. Most kids like Sol reject prosthetics at this age. In the hundreds of cases I have come across since the press release in March, only one other boy wears an arm all day every day. His parents did something similar to what I have done but they were able to pay for private care

Romper_Stomperr-17 karma

How come people can't do nice things and not post it on the internet to pat themselves on the back?

BenRyan_SolsDad5 karma

I don't know - what do you think?