At the age of 17, Gino Tubaro received a letter from a desperate mother. “Please make my boy, Felipe, a hand,” it said. “We cannot afford a prosthetic.” Gino had been inventing things since the age of 13. His own mother had taken him to science fairs and invention workshops, pushing him to follow his passion for technology.
"Where would I be if I only had one hand?” Gino acquired a 3D printer the year before and saw endless possibilities for his own future as an inventor. But Felipe’s hand soon became his obsession.
Gino launched the Limbs Project under the organization he founded called AtomicLab. He assembled a small team of like-minded inventors to use 3D printing to make Felipe’s hand. He drew from various designs available online.
After a number of attempts, Gino’s team made a hand that fit perfectly AND made Felipe feel like a superhero. His new, red-colored robotic hand looked like something out of a Marvel movie.
Gino saw for the first time how something he made could actually change lives. He accelerated the printing and started organizing “Hand-a-thons,” (manotónes in Spanish) events where he distributed prosthetics, turning hundreds of kids in Argentina into superheros.
In April 2017, with a waiting list of 3,500 kids who needed prosthetics in 17 countries, Gino launched a video with the help of Ashoka and PlayGround, a digital media company. The video recruited “Atomic Ambassadors,” people around the world committed to the cause who had access to a 3D printer, to meet the demand in their own countries.
The video went viral and within a month, Atomic Ambassadors began delivering hands in their own countries. Today, at 23, Gino has helped more than 750 Felipes and has unleashed the power of 1,000 changemakers in 30 countries to help kids most in need see themselves as superheroes. Gino inspired Marvel to get on board and signed a deal with Disney to print The Avengers-inspired hands for free to distribute to kids at Hand-a-thons in Latin America.
Watch his story in this video.