8-year-old Utahn gets 3D-printed hand at a fraction of the cost of a traditional prosthetic

Posted at 7:31 PM, May 08, 2015
and last updated 2015-05-08 21:31:35-04

PROVIDENCE, Utah -- An 8-year-old girl who was born without fingers on her left hand is now able to do simple tasks thanks to a device created on a 3D printer for a fraction of the cost of a traditional prosthetic.

Elise Wright learned to adapt to living without a fully developed left hand, but when a neighbor heard about a man in North Carolina who makes 3D hands for kids, her parents contacted him and the man began work on a hand for Elise.

“I can pick up stuff, and do lots of stuff with it now,” the young girl said of her purple prosthetic.

It took six months for the hand to be built. Cameron Wright, Elise’s father, said it is already making a difference in his daughter’s day-to-day life.

“Some of the simple things that she has learned how to do is pick up a cup… and as we learn how it`s activated she can move her wrist in and make the fingers contract, and then she can pick up a cup and drink it,” he said.

And they hope Elise will learn to do even more.

“There’s still a learning curve as far as strength and as far as mobility and function of it,” he said. “She’s still learning to do some of the other things, but that’s the greatest thing: She’s got such a desire to try and do things that she’ll pick up on it quickly.”

Wright said traditional prosthetic hands can cost up to $60,000—but the 3D-printed hand created for Elise only cost about $70.