When she is not climbing trees, chasing frogs, reading books, creating “art explosions” all over the house or having sleepovers with her friends like other 9 year olds on summer vacation, Torrae Owen is sitting at the dinner table next to her dad, Ivan Owen – assembling 3D printed mechanical prosthetic hands for children and adults in need of “a helping hand.”
After watching the story about another little girl named Sierra that started making these e-NABLE hands, Torrae decided that she wanted to learn how to make hands for other children who were born without fingers too- so “they can hold their papers while they try to draw, ride their bikes easier, hold a jar to put newly caught grasshoppers in and be able to hold a juice box in one hand while eating a fried chicken leg with the other when they have fun summer picnics with their families. Things that are easier to do with 2 hands..you know?!”
So rather than plopping down for another hour in front of the computer to build various things in her ever evolving Minecraft world – she chose to help her dad build something that could actually help another real live person …instead of spawning more chickens to dump on un-expecting intruders heads when they try to enter her lava hut.
“It feels really awesome to make things for people that make them happy but it feels even better to know that it could actually change their life a little…I like making people happy.”
Torrae spent a couple of hours sanding down parts, stringing finger cords, screwing the cable guides onto the palm pieces, sewing on the velcro strap, cutting out foam padding and hammering the snap pins in place. There are still a few things she needs help from Mom and Dad for (Drill press, adding palm leather and that pesky hot glue gun!) – but this is the second hand she has helped create and she can’t wait to make another. She however, has high hopes that future designs will become even more kid friendly to assemble so that she can sit and put one together all by herself and teach her friends how to make them too.
This “Ody Hand” design that Torrae helped build – is going to a little girl in Mexico who was born missing fingers.
“I really do wish they would make some fingers that have those cool Sticky hand things that could just shoot right out of the finger tips and grab stuff and bring it back to you! Or maybe….fingers that shoot silly string! But ….I would want one for me too.”
In the next week, she plans to help her dad make another 3 hands for 3 boys and then she will get to help deliver the devices to them in person!
“I want to keep making hands for people. Its fun and it makes me happy to make other people happy.”
Isn’t that what we should all live by?
Making things that can help others because its “Fun.” and it “makes us happy to make others happy?”
Sounds like a great way to make the world a little brighter place!
If you are in the Baltimore, MD area and would like to learn how to create one of these devices for yourself, your child or someone you know – please consider joining us at the e-NABLE conference at Johns Hopkins Hospital in September for our hand assembly workshop - where e-NABLE volunteers, (including Ivan Owen - Torrae’s dad)- will be there to walk you through the assembly of our hand designs and once you are finished – you can take your completed hand home for free!
For more information – please visit our event page!