School Prints 3-D Hand for Boy Born Without

An 8-year-old boy born without a right hand now has a new prosthetic one, thanks to the ingenuity of some teachers at his school and the district's new 3-D printer. 

Aidan Davidson of Accord, New York, was born without a right hand and has just tiny nubs for fingers at the end of his arm. He's relied solely on his left hand to do anything. 

But recently, the Rondout Valley Central School District in Ulster County purchased a 3-D printer with grant money, and art teacher Stephen Protoss had a light bulb moment that led to a collaboration with shop teacher Nick Bodnar and the district's occupational therapist Paul Scarpati. 

Protoss modified a free computer design for Aidan's specifications, and the trio purchased some inexpensive hardware to hold together the parts stamped out by the printer. 

Aidan now sports a Transformer-like appliance made of red plastic and metal fasteners. The additional material cost about $50.

"It's amazing," the plucky second-grader said as he described how he can now use his right hand to do something that for most people are considered as simple as opening a door or giving a friend a high-five. 

"As soon as they gave him that hand, his self-esteem shot through the roof," said Aidan's father, Jerry. 

Aidan now uses a fork and knife with his right hand and he can eat corn on the cob holding both ends for the first time, his mother Kim said. 

Aidan's parents said they had approached doctors about a prosthetic for their son but were told it would require surgery and the shortening of his right arm, a decision they weren't prepared to make. 

The new school-produced device couldn't come at a better time for the youngster, who is looking forward to riding his new bicycle for the first time ever.

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