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This High Schooler Crafted an Affordable 3-D Prosthetic for His Young Friend

February 20, 2014
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This High Schooler Crafted an Affordable 3-D Prosthetic for His Young Friend
Teen prints 3-D hand for young boy CNN via YouTube
Little Matthew Shields was teased by his classmates for his disability. That's why his friend Mason Wilde stepped in.

Talk about a helping hand. Mason Wilde, a high schooler from Kansas City, crafted a working prosthetic hand for his young friend, Matthew Shields, using the 3-D printer at his local library. Shields, 9, was born with only a thumb and nubs for fingers on his right hand. He didn’t think much about his disability until kids at school started teasing him.

“Every day, kids were asking him, ‘What happened to your hand, what happened to your hand,’ and I noticed it was wrecking his spirit,” said, mom, Jennifer to The Kansas City Star. “Social stigma was starting to creep in on him.”

Jennifer, a single mom, couldn’t afford commercial prostheses that can run up to $18,000, she said. After Jennifer found instructions for the “Robohand” on the Internet, she had Wilde, a 16-year-old family friend, loaded them onto the Johnson County Library’s 3-D printer that’s free to use for anyone with a library card. In eight hours, the hand was printed.

MORE: Beyond Books: Here Are Some of Today’s Most Innovative Libraries

“I actually have fingers,” a smiling Shields told CNN. ” I didn’t know what that felt like until now.” If you watch the video above, Shields can now pick things up and draw pictures.

“It has been a huge blessing. It has changed the conversation from, ‘What happened to your hand?’ to, ‘Oh my gosh! That is so cool,'” said Jennifer about her son’s new gadget. “That is huge when you are 9 and when you’re a little bit different.”

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