For 5-year-old Keith Harris, who was born with a rare condition known as symbrachydactyly, a normal life seemed like a stretch. The condition caused his right hand to not fully form during development, which left him with limited use in the hand.
However, the e-Nable group made the impossible, quite possible. The group who specializes in dealing with prosthetics for children with serious medical needs developed a “3D Mechanical Hand,” that cost just $45. An ordinary prosthetic would have cost his family $40,000 and, unfortunately, would have been rendered ineffective once his hand grew beyond the size that it currently was.
The prosthetic was dubbed “the Iron Man” hand due to its comparable features to the hand of the superhero Iron Man. However, many had reservations about how effective the product would be. As Harris said himself, “When I first got my hand I thought it would be difficult for me to do stuff with it.”
The family of the boy noted that he received a lot of unwanted attention from the deformity with his hand before, but now, the prosthetic has allowed Harris to come out of his shell, and really start to live a full and happy life. The family also noted that the process had been overwhelming and that the challenges they faced made them feel as though there was “nothing” that could be done about it.
He though is not the first to receive an Iron Man inspired prosthetic hand. A girl in Scotland also received one from the same group previously. While, the future benefits of using a 3D printer to create prosthetics like this are obvious, the real life benefits of giving someone in the position of Keith Harris a prosthetic that can be this beneficial, and this useful are even more obvious.
Now, Keith Harris stands to be able to live a full, and normal life moving forward and not have to face the insecurities he previously did with his condition. The implications that a cost-effective prosthetic that could be easily produced would have on lives like Keith’s are obviously profound.