Youngster to benefit from 3D printed hand

A five-year-old boy from Bedford will be able to use a knife and fork and ride a bike thanks to a 3D printed hand under development by experts at the University of Bedfordshire.

Donaghan trying 3D printed hand with Mark and DavidDonaghan Hazlewood, from Bedford, visited the University’s School of Computer Sciences and Technology with his parents to have the first fitting of his 3D hand, which was made using a 3D printer with ABS plastic.

Donaghan’s mum Alicia Frith, said: “We hope the hand will make him feel like he can be more involved with his friends. It will make him feel like he can do anything he wants to. He’s very excited about his hand, he’s told all his friends and teachers at school about it. He calls it his Iron Man hand.”

Donaghan was born with Poland syndrome, a condition which means he is missing the chest muscle on the right side of his body and fingers missing from his right hand, though he has a partial thumb and little finger. The condition occurs in around one in a 100,000 babies.

The Cauldwell Lower School pupil met with the creators of his hand, Senior Lecturer David Jazani and PhD student and Technician Mark Hooper. The pair has already created another 3D printed hand for 8-year-old William Joyner in the summer of 2016 and have learnt lessons from that project.

David said: “We are working to make the production process simpler and cheaper so more people can make these things in the future. It’s very exciting as we have so many new materials to work with.”

Mark said: “We hope the hand will help Donaghan do things that we take for granted. We do so many different things with our hands that we want to be able to help Donaghan do more things for himself.”

Donaghan’s dad Rory Hazlewood hopes the hand will be a tool to help Donaghan do things he’s not been able to do for himself before.

“We have always encouraged Donaghan to do things for himself, but there are some things he can’t so, like use a knife and fork. He wants to go out on his bike but he can’t use the brakes and it makes him feel unstable. The hand will make him feel like everyone else,” said Rory.

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