Kids get prosthetic hands made by 3D printers

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The high-five: It's a simple gesture but it wouldn't have been possible before now for a group of very deserving children (KTRK)

They were born without fingers. Some, without an entire hand.

For years they have grown up, realizing they were differently-abled than other children.

On Thursday though, eight children were given new prosthetics which will start to change that. They were given them for free.

"It's cool," says six-year-old Keith Harris, who is looking forward to the hand helping him have greater successes playing football. "Holding the football and catching!" he says.

Each child was measured for fit. The hands are then each custom made. Each piece is produced on a 3D printer. It takes about 10 hours to print all the parts.

This is a project made possible by Shriners Hospital For Children - Houston, Rice University, Marvel Universe LIVE! and the nonprofit group e-NABLE.

Dr. Gloria Gogola at Shriners says "being able to use this technology to customize something for each child is very exciting."

The groups fitted the children with the prosthetics for the first time. Parents like Kim Harris say she and her family are is grateful.

"The potential for this is endless: carrying lunch tray; helping him tie shoes; riding his bike, scooter; picking up things; things we take every day for granted," Harris said.

Bioengineering students and staff from Rice have been working tenaciously on the project.

"That's just absolutely game changing. Unheard of, kind of, in the realm of prosthetics," said student Anderson Ta.

Each hand is made of up parts costing less than $50 total. Compare that to a standard prosthetic which can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

To learn more about the project, visit enablingthefuture.org.
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