IMAGES: U of L students use 3-D printer to create 'bionic hand' - WDRB 41 Louisville News

IMAGES: U of L students use 3-D printer to create 'bionic hand' for 6-year-old Louisville boy


LOUISVILLE, KY. (WDRB) -- Born without fingers on his right hand, a 6-year-old Louisville boy now has the use of both hands.

The hand is made of plastic and was created by bio-engineering students at The University of Louisville.

Lucas has learned to adjust.

"He was born with a shorter hand, as you would say, it stops just after the wrist and then the fingers didn't fully form."

But just as he was getting used to life without it, Lucas now has a right hand.

"It is awesome, Lucas said. "I've never had something like this before."

Alyssa Hoeper, one of the students who created the hand, explains how it works. 

"His palm comes in here and then when he bends his wrist, he's actually able to close his fingers," Hoeper said. 

"And then when he extends his wrist, it opens the fingers," said Professor Gina Bertocci. 

Students started with a mold of Lucas' hand.

"And then we scan the mold and then from there the hand was brought in to a 3-D CAD environment and then that 3-D mold is used," said Bertocci. 

And once the design is made, it is sent to a 3-D printer to create the finished product.

"And it prints very much as if you were printing a Word document," Bertocci said. "But it's printing something in 3-D so that it has shape and contours to it."

With the new hand, Lucas is able to play catch, high five -- you name it.

And he's also a big hit with his classmates.

"They think it is pretty cool, they like my -- they want my autograph 'cause it's so cool," Lucas said. 

As Lucas grows, the bionic hands will either be adjusted or redesigned to fit his body.

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