Muscular dystrophy robot-building twins enable themselves through 3D printing technology

Two brothers with advanced muscular dystrophy in Melbourne are using 3D printing tools to ‘re-enable’ themselves – and they are now starting a public makers’ space to share their tricks with other people with disabilities.

The identical twins, Chris and Nick Fryer, were diagnosed with the crippling Duchenne strain of muscular dystrophy at the age of eight, and were told not to expect to live beyond 21.

Now 37 years old, they are the oldest people with Duchenne MD in Australia, and they are continuing to find new ways to extend and enrich their lives, using home-made technological aids.

Despite being reliant on ventilators around the clock, with movement restricted to their mouths and fingertips, the brothers have made their own robots, drones, wheelchair support frames and computer aids.

“We’ve always been interested in technology, even when we were very young,” Nick said.

“When I was little, my dad taught me how to make model aircraft out of balsawood and glue, and my disability took that away from me, but now technology has given that ability back.

“I can design things on the computer and print them out on my 3D printer and it’s fantastic.”

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