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3D printer makes bionic hand for 5-year-old girl
by Brooks Hays
Inverness, Scotland (UPI) Oct 2, 2014

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

Hayley Fraser, a five-year-old girl from Scotland, recently became the first child in the United Kingdom to be outfitted with a prosthetic limb made using 3D printing technology.

Fraser was born without fingers on her left hand; ashamed, she'd often hide that hand when having her picture taken. But not anymore. Her new bright pink bionic hand, inspired by the movie Ironman, is quite a sight -- something worth showing off.

The prosthetic hand didn't come easy, though. Fraser's family says she was denied a prosthetic hand by United Kingdom's National Health Service (NHS). So her parents, David and Zania Fraser, went online to see what they could find. They happened upon the website of E-nable, a group of volunteers in the United States -- including engineers, artists and academics -- who design and build prosthetics for children.

One of the members of E-nable is Professor Frankie Flood, an engineer at the University of Wisconsin. After being put in touch with Flood, Fraser's parents made a cast of their daughter's hand and sent it across the Atlantic. Flood used the model to print out properly-sized prosthetic components using a 3D printer. The superhero-themed hand was ready in just six weeks.

Meet the first child in the UK with a 3D-printed prosthetic arm— i100 (@thei100) October 2, 2014

Now, Fraser can manipulate her prosthetic hand's artificial tendons, joints and fingers by flexing and rotating her wrist.

"It was all her dreams come true," Fraser's father told the Independent. "It's the little things -- she can hold her teddy, peel a banana and even paint her nails now."

David says she no longer hides her hand, or acts embarrassed around her friends. And that may be the most important benefit.

"When we started it was more about function, but now it's much more about self-esteem," explained another E-nable volunteer, Melina Brown. "They make the kids feel really special, rather than being something to be embarrassed about."


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