Richard lost four of his fingers in a circular saw accident in 2011, but was determined to continue work as a carpenter.
“I had two problems. One, finding something that’s functional for a tradesman for instance, and second, finding something that was within the reach of normal people – prosthetic limbs are ridiculously expensive.”, Richard explained to the Daily Mail.
Richard joined forces with U.S designer Ivan Owen to create “RoboFinger”, which allowed Mr Van As to use what remained of his fingers to operate a claw device. After being give two 3D printers to help with development they went on to make Robohand, which can be printed, assembled and fitted anywhere in the world.
So far Robohand has helped have helped over 100 young children who have a condition called amniotic band syndrome which causes them to be born with a malformed hand. The first to receive a Robohand was Liam a 5-year old boy from South Africa who’s family were not able to afford the thousands of dollars needed for a traditional myoelectric hand. Richard estimates the cost to make a Robohand to be about $65 and has published the plans on Thingiverse so anyone can print their own.