Tag Archives: prosthetic hand

Reaction Paper One: Jeff Burke

During this week’s lecture series, I was very enthralled by what Jeff Burke had to say. Even the photos he supplied had me in a state of bewilderment. The first subject that caught my eye was the use of sensors during on stage plays. Sensors were placed into certain props like a witch’s staff and sometimes on the actors themselves. Technicians nearby use a special programs to recognize the movements and assign them to their own effect. These sensors allow each actor’s movements to trigger the specific special effect in real time like wind or thunder for example. It is with this technology that virtually every performance would be different from the next and unique in its own way. With this technology, in the future, no two versions of any play would ever be the same and I find that simply amazing. I myself have never been to a play but I can see myself going simply because of an addition like these sensors. I imagine Broadway shows like the Lion King and Wicked utilizing technology like that and can only imagine how that type of technology could bring plays to an entirely different level.

Another subject that I really wish was discussed a bit further and really caught my eye was the subject of 3D printers. Although it wasn’t talked about thoroughly, this is one subject that definitely interests me. I know of one man who is using a 3D printer to create a prosthetic hand for his young son using open source blue prints. These blue prints and the idea came from a man named Ivan Owen in Washington State whose goal was to make it possible for people to make their own prosthetics inexpensively. The use of the 3D printer cuts his costs down dramatically because a true prosthetic could cost around twenty thousand dollars or more whilst the 3D printer only costs a little over two thousand dollars. This allows him to easily make a new hand if his son were to grow out of it.

This isn’t the only use of 3D printers I’ve heard of. I’ve seen different types of candy printed out in intricate shapes that wouldn’t have been possible otherwise in such a short time.  However, technology goes even farther and utilizes this on an extreme level. I’ve heard of 3D printers giving people new faces after a severe trauma like being burnt or getting injured in war. Even more amazing is the printing of actual human tissue, which then could be used to create working organs. We could have the ability to print organs for those who need them instead of patients having to wait on lists. If that’s not amazing to you, I don’t know what is.

Overall, this lecture introduced me to the bizarre world of technology and further solidified my strong belief that technology and the brilliant minds behind them are changing the world and how we look at it. Issues that would have been dire a decade ago are now minor problems that can be resolved by simply with the technology we have at our finger tips.

Boy gets prosthetic hand made by 3-D printer (video)