High Schooler Engineers 3-D Printed Hand for 6-Year-Old

'Robot hand' helps local boy

SAN ANTONIO - SAN ANTONIO, TX - Zack Robbins, a 6-year-old boy, has a new 3D-printed hand thanks to a 10th-grade student at the School of Science and Technology in San Antonio, TX.

KENS 5 was there as Zack tried on his new assistive hand for the first time.

"It's just going to change day-to-day simple things that people with two hands take for granted," said Lee Robbins, Zack's dad.

For the first time in his nearly seven years of life, Zack Robbins has a right hand.

"When I bend it down, all the fingers bend down with it," said Zack, showing off his new "robot hand" as he calls it.

"I came in [to the classroom] and I saw him playing with it and I was speechless," said Cantu after he watched Zack try on his new hand. "We customized it for his arm size and his hands. The rest of his hand is under the palm, so when he moves his palm the hand closes. There's fishing line infused through it, so when he moves down, the fishing line tightens up and closes."

Cantu said it's ironic he was assigned the month-long project because he has a relative that also needed a prosthetic limb.

"Kind of felt like destiny that I had the chance to do this," he said.

Zack's parents were connected to the School of Science and Technology via e-NABLE, or "Enabling the Future," an international program that designs assistive hands ready to be produced on a 3-D printer for less than $50.

"I downloaded all the files to control the printer, how to print all this stuff, then sent it to [the school] and they said, 'Sure we can print all that stuff!'" Lee recalled.

Other assistive hands of similar quality would cost up to $15,000.

"He's got a certain amount of palm," Lee said. "He doesn't have his whole palm. He's got half of it. When he meets someone, and you don't think about this, they stick their hand out to shake and then he doesn't have a hand there. Folks have always said, 'Oh, I'm sorry about that!' And now he'll just put that hand out there."

Lee added that Zack is already learning some fine motor skills. He noticed Zack even scratch his nose with his new hand.

Zack's mother, Jill, said that the new 3-D printed hand will definitely be a game changer.

"He'll be able to grab a bike, a bat," Jill said. "His thing that he said today or yesterday was, 'Now I can carry my milk.'"

Zack's new hand needs a few minor adjustments, but Cantu said that it’s no problem. Any tweaking can be done in a day.

"It was a project that I'll remember for the rest of my life, and I'm very honored to have the opportunity to help him out," Cantu said.

When we asked Zack if he will be wearing his new hand to school, he replied, "Yes! I'm so excited, I can't even believe my eyes!"

For more information about the e-NABLE community who helped provide Zack's 3-D printed hand, you can visit their official website here.

© 2017 KENS-TV


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