A 10-year-old girl named Jordan Reeves has designed an arm cannon that even Mega Man would want. But instead of bullets or bombs, Reeves' cannon shoots glitter — and might even do some good in the world.
Reeves, who was born with a limb difference — her left arm ends around her elbow — created the prosthetic arm cannon at the Superhero Cyborgs program in San Francisco. Hosted by the nonprofit KIDMob and the software company Autodesk, the event matches designers with kids between the ages of 10 to 15 with upper limb differences. Each participating pair then designs a prosthesis that lets their imaginations run wild, giving the kids with upper limb differences agency.
Jordan, who hails from Columbia, Mo., felt overjoyed to be picked for the program, which only has enough spots for a few participants. "I was like, 'Wow, I can't believe I'm actually doing this,' " she said in an interview with Fast Company.
Jordan's mother, Jen Reeves, described the struggle to find a comfortable, good prosthesis for her daughter over the years — one that's become a bit easier with the advent of 3D printing.
"We've always encouraged the growth of 3-D printing, because it's more affordable. I feel like the engineers building these hands are really great, but they don't know the body. There's a revolution that's emerging where doctors and experts with degrees that help the body need to know more about hacking the body with more affordable tools."
Five days into the 10-day program and with the help of a 3D-printed prototype, Jordan had her design down: a cuff that can be slipped over the wearer's arm, and which sports five barrels, each of which "shoot" out glitter by pulling a piece of string. The name? "Project Unicorn."
As of now, the arm cannon still needs a bit of work — in Jordan's words, the glitter "just kinda [spills] out" from the barrels — but Jordan and her designer still have six months to tinker around with the design and create perfected prototypes.
Sam Hobish, a designer at Autodesk who worked extensively with Reeves to develop the prosthetic arm cannon, told Fast Company about plans to perfect the design for Jordan's liking:
"I've been talking to my colleagues in electronics and materials development about ways we can create some kind of pressurized system that shoots out sparkles more effectively ... I plan to work until we get something she really likes. If that means we make new prototypes over the course of a year, I'm fine with that. I'll keep going until someone tells me to stop."
He's also helping Jordan create a modular arm that can do other, more useful things.
Watch 10-year-old Jordan Reeves explain how her #SuperheroCyborg Glitter-Shooting Arm works in the video clip below.