The idea for Liam's hand started out as Rich Van As's nightmare accident. When Van As, an artisan carpenter, chopped off four of his fingers with a table saw, he vowed to get mechanical replacements. So Van As, in South Africa, researched for months. But only found the X-finger, which costs thousands of dollars. That's when Van As stumbled on a YouTube video of a velociraptor-like claw made by Ivan Owen, a mechanical special effects artist in Bellingham, WA. Van As tried to replicate the design, but soon realized he needed Owen to "lend me a hand." And the two swapped ideas over email, a blog, Skype sessions, and finally in person at Van As's workshop in South Africa over four days in November, 2012.