Health

Boy’s Bionic Hand Arrives Just in Time

'I feel a lot like Luke Skywalker,' said 10-year-old beneficiary of the amazing crowdfunding efforts — and the 3D print technology behind them

A 10-year-old boy who was born without a right hand is getting the gift of a lifetime just in time for Christmas.

Cameron Millar, from Edinburgh in Scotland, was able to crowdfund 10,000 euros (less than $12,000) for a new 3D-printed bionic hand.

“I want a bionic hand so that I’m not dragging along behind. Like at school, when we’re doing a writing activity, a lot of people are writing a lot faster than me, so sometimes I need to go back to it the next day or after break or lunchtime,” the boy told Sky News.

Although Millar said he can’t play drums or guitar, his new hand will empower him to change that.

Millar, who is right-handed despite being born without his right hand, raised the funds for his bionic hand with the help of Radio Forth’s Cash for Kids charity.

Although the boy said that he can’t play drums or guitar, his new hand will empower him to change that.

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His mother told Sky News, “Because he’s never had it [a right hand], he’s just adapted and learned how to do things without it. It’s only been since he’s got a bit bigger that he realizes he’s different, other people realize he’s different, and he actually wants to have a right hand.”

The U.K.-based company Open Bionics developed the bionic hand, and it’s the first of its kind to be medically approved for use in Europe and the United States.

Related: Santa Arrives Early for Tiniest Hospital Patients

Although there are similar prosthetics available, the company’s 3D-printed version is relatively cheap. It’s currently undergoing clinical trials by National Health Service in England and so may become available soon.

Sky News reports that the hand works by reading signals from the user’s muscles. Sensors inside its socket pick up signals from muscles that would normally be moving their hand and fingers, and the hand reacts accordingly.

Joel Gibbard of Open Bionics, told Sky News, “We’re trying to make bionic hands affordable and accessible. It can give kids a sense of self-confidence, a sense of pride about their prosthetics, about their limb differences, and make them feel better about being unique.”

The boy, who is a big fan of Star Wars, told Sky News: “I’ll feel a lot like Luke Skywalker, my Star Wars favorite character, because in one of the movies Darth Vader chopped off his hand with his lightsaber. Now he has a bionic hand, so I feel a lot like Luke Skywalker.”

This Fox News piece is used by permission.

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(photo credit, homepage image: Star Wars Bionic Hand, CC BY-SA 4.0, by StarWarsRey)

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