Two engineers living on opposite sides of the world have collaborated to create a Robohand for a five-year-old boy named Liam, who can now grasp items, write and feed himself with a 3D-printed right hand.

Richard Van As of South Africa and Ivan Owen from Bellingham, Washington, strive to perfect the open-source Robohand project for anyone to download and use. Currently, the Robohand is made out of 46 pieces including customizable 3D-printed pieces, cords, nuts, bolts and rubber thimbles.

The builders began on this journey to find an accessible prosthetic that doesn't cost thousands of dollars after Van As lost four fingers in a sawing accident. A year later and several prototypes later, the Robohand creators are crowdsourcing donations on Fundly to procure materials, machines and airline tickets to reach one another to complete the project. The duo's goal is to raise $50,000 for the open-source project that will allow anyone to download the software to build a custom appendage lost in an accident or to disease.

The medical field has found several useful applications for 3D printing. Innovations in 3D printing are reshaping medicine, letting builders create and design incredibly inexpensive custom prosthetics, casts and custom transplants.

[via Inhabitat]