Norwescon was mentioned in this account (recently featured on Boing Boing) of a project to develop a functional mechanical hand. It turns out that a gadget first created for a costume, and first shown publicly at Norwescon 34, is being adapted to assist a South African man who lost fingers on his right hand in a woodworking accident.
Back in April of 2011 – my husband Ivan and I decided we wanted to attend our very first Sci Fi convention, so he got to work on creating our costumes for the event. Ivan decided he wanted to make functional Mechanical hands and after studying how the human fingers work and taking a few lessons from a crab leg..he figured it out.
His hand was a hit at NORWESCON and within weeks, the silly little Youtube video he had created to share his awesomeness was getting thousands of views a day.
Little did we know that this would not only lead him to getting numerous orders for pairs of these mechanical hands from fellow goofballs that love to dress up and be a little crazy too, for a director of a play, a plastic version for a team of scientists at UCLA and a major Robotics company…but that one day he would get an email from a man named Rich in South Africa who was curious to see if Ivan could help him find a way to figure out the design he had been working on to restore two of the 4 fingers he had recently lost on his right hand due to a woodworking accident…after looking into a few prosthetics and researching the Xfinger design and being told it would cost him up to $10,000 (US Dollars) per finger…he knew he would never be able to afford this and wanted to design something on his own.
This was no longer a “Silly project” Ivan had been doing for a few extra bucks once in awhile…this now had purpose. It had possibilities. It could…change lives.
You can read more about this incredible project at coming up short handed, and Norwescon is proud to have such dedicated people in our membership. Congratulations and best wishes to Ivan Owen and Richard Van As!