May 18 - An 11 year old Argentine boy has a new grip on life, thanks to a prosthetic hand made by a designer on a 3D printer. The hand is simple but effective and cost Felipe Miranda's family more than 90 percent less than a conventional prosthetic. Elly Park reports.
Eleven-year-old Felipe Miranda rides his bicycle using both hands - one of which is a prosthetic. But it's not a conventional prosthetic. It was created here - in a studio in Buenos Aires where industrial designer Gonzalo Sanchez and his colleagues rent 3D printers to create all kinds of objects, using plastic, metal and other raw materials. But before Felipe's mother contacted them, Sanchez says, they'd never created a prosthetic hand (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) INDUSTRIAL DESIGNER AND PROJECT CONSULTANT, GONZALO SANCHEZ, SAYING: "She asked us if we would be able to help her and we told her that we would look into it. We started going through different files that were on the internet and to doing tests until we were able to modify some things and by interchanging pieces we could create the hand that Felipe is now able to use." ..and they did it for about $200, compared to the $40,000 Felipe's mother had been quoted for a conventional prosthetic. Felipe was born with no fingers on his left hand. His new attachment is not as sophisticated as the $40,000 version but by moving his wrist back and forth he can make the hand open and close. It allows him to pet his dog among other things. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) BOY WITH PROSTHETIC HAND, FELIPE MIRANDA, SAYING: "I didn't paddle but I sat down and grabbed the with the rod, yes, I tried casting it. Yes, super happy." Ivana, Felipe's mom is also happy, having found an affordable, life-changing alternative for her son. (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) FELIPE'S MOTHER, IVANA, SAYING: "Many people like us maybe don't have the resources to search for it, or don't know where to look for it, so now this provides a new option." And with 3D printing becoming less expensive and more accessible, designers and hobbyists can follow their creative urges, while at the same time lending a hand to people such as Felipe.