Keith Harris, a five year old boy from League City, Texas who was born with a condition called Symbrachydactyly (which basically means that his hand did not fully form in the uterus) recently received a prosthetic hand made by a 3D printer. Keith says he feels like Iron Man after getting that!
Keith Harris, whose right hand was slightly deformed at birth due to the rare condition, got to show off his new high-tech hand Friday as he exchanged high-fives with classmates at Mossman Elementary School in the Houston suburb of League City.
“When I first got my hand I thought it would be difficult for me to do stuff with it,” Keith told KPRC-TV in Houston. “I love it.”
Keith was all smiles in a T-shirt that read, “Ten Fingers are Overrated” as he made a fist with his new mechanical hand. “It’s not that hard,” he told the station.
Kim Harris said her son has come out of his shell with the new hand.
“This is something that’s been really positive that’s come out of having an upper-limb difference,” she said. “His personality has really come alive. He’s had confidence that’s he’s never had before.”
He doesn’t like when people stare at him, he doesn’t like when people continue to ask about it,” she stated. “So the past five years have been challenging in a sense that there is nothing we can do about it.”
Keith got his 3D hand through a group called the E-Nable Organization. The group runs “3D Mechanical Hand: Maker Movement” which aims to provide children like Harris with devices that can help them perform routine tasks that would be otherwise very difficult, if not impossible for them. The group was founded by a prop maker and a carpenter who worked together to make a prosthetic for a child in South Africa. The group has since grown to include people from all over the world who are using their backgrounds in engineering, therapy and design to help those in need of prosthesis.
“Keith is not eligible for a regular prosthetic device,” Keith’s mother explained. “It would cost us around $40,000, he would outgrow it. It is very stuffy, sweaty and uncomfortable. We are receiving the hand free-of-cost, but it costs them about $45 to $50 to make this hand.”
Keith is reportedly the first Texan to receive a 3D printed prosthetic like this one, and has already been using it to play sports, shake hands and even ride his scooter.
A similar device was made by a father for his son. 12-year-old Leon McCarthy received the hand after his father made it after watching a YouTube video that demonstrated how to construct other 3D printed objects.