3D printing arms for Hannah. Source: http://www.3ders.org
3D printing arms for Hannah. Source: http://www.3ders.org

4-year-old Hannah was born with arthrogryposis, a condition that prevents her from extending her arms. But with the help of 3D printing, Hannah is able to play, eat, and hug her family.

Jennifer Mohn, Hannah’s mom, was told to prepare for the worst during her fifth month of pregnancy regarding her unborn daughter. Hannah was born with a host of health problems, but now she is making great progress with the help of 3D printing.

Hannah is using 3D printed arms that help her to lift and extend her arms. The arms, known as the Wilmington Robotic Exoskeleton, or WREX, was developed by Tariq Rahman, PhD, Senior Research Engineer at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Delaware.

The team working on WREX have printed the models for more than a dozen children with arthrogryposis, including Hannah. The models are created with lightweight plastic and rubber bands that are custom-made for each child.

"If you do the geometry right and you put the bands in the correct place, you can get this floating sensation for a kid," said Rahman.

"Without the 3-D printer, we wouldn't be in the position we're in with these younger kids," says Rahman. It's allowing kids like Hannah the ability to move their arms and even flick a rubber band.

"To see her have the ability to reach her arms out, to reach out and grab something is just a really amazing feeling for a mom," Jennifer explained.