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Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Feel Good Story of the Day--Teen Prints Prosthetic Hand

The Kansas City Star reports on 16 year-old Mason Wilde, who created a prosthetic hand on a 3-D printer for the 9 year-old son of family friends. From the story:

The third-grader was born with only a thumb and a few partial digits on his right hand. He can lift stuff with it, balance a book on it, even tie his own shoes. But, Matthew said, “I was bored with that. I wanted to do more.”
 
... “Every day, kids were asking him, ‘What happened to your hand, what happened to your hand,’ and I noticed it was wrecking his spirit,” Jennifer said. “Social stigma was starting to creep in on him.” 
Still, Matthew showed no interest in getting a commercial prosthetic hand, his mother said. 
What’s more, such a hand can cost as much as $18,000. Even with insurance, Jennifer said, “we wouldn’t be able to afford that. I’m a single mother.” 
But when Matthew’s mom showed him an online picture of a “Robohand” created on a 3-D printer, he got excited. She knew the Johnson County Library had a 3-D printer that was free for anyone with a library card to use. 
“It is so cool,” Matthew said, which was just what his mom was hoping for. Maybe the kids at school whose questions seemed to say something was wrong with Matthew would instead ask about his cool robot hand. 
The Robohand is driven by the motion of the wrist. Move the wrist up and the hand opens, down and the fingers close. 
With it Matthew can write with a pen, but not so legibly just yet. But he is working on it.

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