Student made prosthetic hand using a 3D printer

A boy with 3D-printed prosthetic hand
Holden Mora and his prosthetic hand, (photo by Carol Jackson)

Jeff Powell, a college student in Chapel Hill, has made an affordable prosthetic hand using a 3D printer and has significantly changed 7-year-old boy’s life. Jeff didn’t use composite high-tech tools to make that wonderful low-cost prosthetic hand for the little kid. He just used a 3D printer and open-source instructions posted on the Internet. His 3D-printed hand was made out of cheap plastic for only $20! Thus, novel technology greatly simplify the life of children with disabilities. Because custom prosthetic arm, hand or fingers normally cost thousands of dollars and needs to be often replaced as children grow.


A 3D-printed prosthetic hand for children for only $20

Holden Mora, a 7-year-old boy, who was born without fingers on his left hand. Jeff has decided to help the boy to get an affordable prosthetic hand. 3D printer built all necessary parts in under 24 hours. Powell said:

“Prosthetic hands costs hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars just for the most simple one, and kids outgrow them in a year or so. Now that 3-D printing has come in, we can get a full prosthetic hand for about $20 of materials”.

Jeff Powell with the prosthetic hand created using a 3-D printer
Jeff Powell with the prosthetic hand created using a 3-D printer, (photo by Dan Sears)

Today anybody that can get access to a 3D printer, can print a hand at home. Holden’s 3D-printed prosthetic hand works simply: it straps on to the end of the boy’s forearm and when he moves his wrist in, the fingers close and when he moves his wrist out, the fingers open. Though Holden won’t be able to use the fingers individually. But he is able to do anything he wants to do: take a cup, holding a knife and fork at the same time, tie his shoes, hang onto his bike, swing a baseball bat. Jeff doesn’t want Holden Mora to be limbed by the condition that he was born with.

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