Most of us get socks and sweaters for Christmas, but 4-year-old Harmony Taylor of Cedar Springs, Mich., is getting something much more extraordinary. The preschool student got a new prosthetic hand for the holiday.
According to MLive, Taylor was born with a condition called “limb difference,” which stunted the growth of fingers on her right hand. The 4-year-old outgrew her previous prosthetic hand, which set her family back $5,000, and was in need of a new one. That’s when students from Grand Rapids West Catholic High School stepped in. The West Catholic robotics team built Taylor a prosthetic hand using a 3D printer and instructions from a South Africa-based company called Robohand.
"I am so excited because this is going to make her more independent," the girl’s mother, Melanie Peterman, told MLive. "There are things like tying her shoes and playing certain games at school that you kind of need two hands for. "
Taylor’s family wasn’t able to afford a replacement prosthetic hand because insurance wouldn’t cover the cost, according to American Live Wire. The Robohand is a plastic cuff that slips over Taylor’s wrist. It is made of plastic and elastic cables that respond to Taylor’s wrist movements. With her new Robohand, Taylor can pick things up, bend her fingers and even catch a ball, KPLCTV reported.
Students took six weeks to complete Taylor’s prosthetic hand. They used a 3D printer, loaned to them by someone in the community, to print the pieces and parts needed for the Robohand.
“Robohand uses medical Orthoplastic that is custom molded to the wearer to limit the possibility of skin lesions, infection and injury,” according to the Robohand website. “The Orthoplastic used by Robohand is breathable, washable and medically approved for this type of use.”
The result is a 3D-printed prosthetic hand that is a “functional, safe [and] cost effective” assistive device, according to Robohand.
What’s next for 4-year-old Taylor? "I'm going to paint [the nails] pink," the preschooler told MLive.