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The Story of Aaron Westbrook and Form5 Prosthetics
The story of Form5 Prosthetics begins with the story of Aaron Westbrook, Founder, and CEO. Despite being born with only one hand, Aaron didn't try out his first prosthesis until he was a freshman in high school. Unfortunately, it did not fit well – and it was expensive, especially considering that he would eventually outgrow it. Disappointed but not defeated, Aaron embarked on a do-it-yourself mission to make his own prosthesis.

As luck would have it, the newly established MIT Fabrication Lab was just getting started at New Albany High School, where Aaron attended, and it included a 3D printer. With the help of e-Nable, a global movement dedicated to 3D printing prosthetic hands and arms for those in need, Aaron was able to use open-source designs to print his own prosthesis. In early 2015, Aaron left the school's Fab Lab wearing what would be his third and final 3D-printed prosthetic arm.

For Aaron, this was only the beginning. He immediately wanted to make this a viable option for others with limb differences. Years earlier he had connected with many of these individuals through his Alive with Five blog, which documented the struggles and accomplishments he faced living with one hand. Inspired to purchase his own 3D printer, he raised enough money through a Kickstarter campaign to make this a reality and then later launched Form5 Prosthetics as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. In its first year as an organization, Form5 provided five recipients with prosthetic devices, held various fundraising events, and collected plastic waste that could be recycled into 3D printer filament material.

Aaron being interviewed about his 3-D printed prosthetic arm in 2015.
What started as a journey to raise awareness led him down a path of innovation in developing 3-D printed devices for himself and others with limb differences. Founded in 2017, Form5's mission is to empower people to interact successfully with their world and future. The organization generates impact through its strategic pillars: Community, Research & Development, Education, and Manufacturing.

Form5 cultivates a community of individuals with limb differences through its Nub Club. Through its Research & Development Committee, Form5 builds interdisciplinary teams of specialists that innovate medical and recreational devices. Form5 has a patent pending for its Bike Arm Adapter, and has produced over 12 devices for users who participated in its first round of clinical testing. Visit Form5 Devices to learn more about the Bike Arm Adapter and other solutions. As part of its mission, Form5 is committed to providing affordable custom-application devices to recipients.

Form5's educational programs and STEM curriculum spark social innovation, creating novel Form5 devices. With the support of Battelle, Form5 is piloting its PRE-FAB Workshop as an after-school program and summer camp. Another top priority is the belief that the mission is best accomplished by including the perspective and ideas of the limb difference community. With that in mind, Form5 initiated its CO-FAB Workshop, which brings recipients, college students, and industry professionals together over the four-week program to develop bespoke devices for individuals with limb differences. CO-FAB currently takes place twice a year and is led by volunteer design and engineering students as well as experts from various companies.

In 2023, Form5 launched its first social enterprise, Difference Makers 3D, providing design and 3D printing services to other organizations. Net revenue generated from this program supports the organization's operations and growth. Above all, Form5 is guided by its north star of manufacturing and commercializing the life-changing devices. Form5 has the potential to have a global footprint, starting by expanding its programs nationwide. Through commercialization, Form5 can become a household brand in the lives of those with limb differences.

Thanks to Aaron's strategic vision and the help of his board of directors – and the support of various community members and organizations – Form5 is well positioned to rapidly scale the organization's impact by helping more people with limb differences acquire the resources, confidence, and support to accomplish anything they imagine.

Aaron pictured with Form5’s first recipient, Maddie Horvath in 2017.
Pictured is The Nub Club of Ohio, a support group for people living with limb differences now led by Form5.