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Teen uses 3-D printing to build a new arm for his veteran dad

As time marches on, so too does technological advancement.

Televisions, smartphones and home computers are essentials in our lives, while it wasn’t that long ago where a CD player was all the rage and VCRs were the only way in which to record a show. But while those, along with things like typewriters, pagers and digital cameras all made life in their times better, their existence does not really give you a warm and fuzzy feeling inside.

But every now and then, a cool new technology intersects with a noble cause in a way that can’t help but do exactly that.

A son uses his smarts to help his father

In this case, a St. Louis teenager used his brain and the resources provided to do something awesome for his dad, who had his arm amputated following an RPG attack in Iraq in 2003.

Robbie Frei, a senior at Priory High School in St. Louis, MO, used his knowledge of robotics and 3-D printing to create a prosthetic arm for his father. But the arm is more than just a place-holder of sorts; the arm Frei made has fingers for his dad to control and is functional to the point where he can even throw a ball with it.

Frei, who has been on his school’s robotics team for six years, said the process of creating the arm as well as other devices involves a lot of trial and error.

In the case of the prosthetic arm, Frei said he modeled it all after his dad’s left hand, which he mirrored so that it could be used on the right.

This is not the first robot-related gift the younger Frei has created for his dad, as he already made an adapter so that he could play Nintendo Switch with his kids. It worked so well, Frei said his dad was able to play full speed with them.

Not surprisingly, Frei is looking to go into robotics in college. A National Merit finalist, he says math helps him to understand the challenges each project presents, as well as provide a path toward a solution.

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In other robotics news

We’ve seen them on TV and in the movies, but as far as anyone knew, cyborgs were not a real thing. But a British man says an antenna that is attached to his skull being in his passport photo shows the U.K. government accepts that he is, in fact, a cyborg. Click here to read up on that.

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