7-Year Old Tallahassee Boy Gets 3D Printed Robotic Hand

7 year old Tallahassee boy gets robotic hand
Posted at 12:30 PM, Sep 24, 2015
and last updated 2015-09-24 08:39:17-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) - For Eden, it was a moment he's waited for his whole life. The 7-year old is finally getting a prosthetic hand, but this one is special, it was built using a 3D printer.    

Eden was born with Amniotic Band Syndrome, a random occurrence, describes his mom, where not all of his fingers on his right hand grew as they should.

"It's just, it's not that it's not normal, but you want him to experience some other things that he may not be able to do," said Zakiya Stanley, Eden's mother.

When 3D printer Thomas Jackson heard Eden's story, he knew what he had to do. Combining his passion with a purpose, Jackson spent the next few months designing, printing and assembling a robotic hand for Eden.

He did it all for a lot less than a prosthetic hand would typically cost. "He's 7 now, but he might need 8 new hands between now and 18," said Jackson. "And before it wasn't cost effective to do that, and now, with 3D printing, it changes all that. We can scale up the size of the design and reprint another one."

Not only is the robotic hand really cool looking, it's also extremely lightweight, weighing just several ounces.

"This is a 3D printed hand," explains Certified Technician of Orthotics Damon Victor. "We added a small modification to add an existing orthotic joint here, but as you can see, these tension cables go all the way through to the digits and as Eden flexes his wrist, then the digits actually close and provide some grasping that he wasn't normally able to do."

And Zakiya won't be pulling out her plastic as often to pay for it. Jackson said it cost less than $100 to print. But to Eden, it's priceless and left him speechless. But that's okay, his smile said it all.

Jackson and Victor belong to an online community called 'e-NABLE', which bridges the gap between the 3D printing community and professional orthotists and prosthetists.

They say while the robotic hand they printed does not compare to the strength and durability of existing prosthetics, and has not been evaluated by the FDA, these 3D printed hands fill a need for children around the world, including giving them a self esteem boost.