South African 3D print pioneer Richard van As is in the US today, where he’s cutting the ribbon on a brand new 3D printer botfarm at the College of the Ouachitas in Arkansas. The botfarm will be used to produce low-cost RoboHand prosthetics for distribution around the world.
Sadly, we can’t be there. But we can watch the live stream of the ceremony from 4pm local time below – and so can you:
Most of the 53 printers in the new farm are secondhand Makerbots which the college has acquired, and van As and his team have refurbished them and given them all individual names. As well as turning out plastic fingers and palms, these will also be used to produce more 3D printers using the award-winning South African-designed RepRap Morgan template.
Morgan creator Quentin Harley recently signed an agreement with van As to share another botfarm, this time closer to home at House4Hack in Centurion. Harley – along with other members of House4Hack – helped van As with the design of RoboBeast, a 3D printer made specifically for use in tough rural areas where there’s no access to electricity or much in the way of medicine.
van As also added a new design for prosthetic legs to the RoboHand stable: RoboLeg.
RoboHand was recently in the news following a project in the Sudan to distribute 3D printed prosthetics to children injured in the civil war there. Earlier this week, that particular initiative – Project Daniel, which was co-organised with Not Impossible Labs – won the prestigious Titanium Lion top award at the Cannes International Festival of Creativity.
At Ouachitas, van As and his business partner Leonard Nel are training up staff to operate the botfarm, which will also be open to members of the public for 3D print-on-demand jobs to help pay the bills.