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'I feel life Darth Vader': Teenager born without fingers on his left hand is given artificial limb made on a PRINTER





'I feel life Darth Vader': Teenager born without fingers on his left hand is given artificial limb made on a PRINTER
A teenage Star Wars fan born without any fingers on his left hand says he feels like Darth Vader after volunteers used a 3D printer to build him a new hand. 

Joe Oxenbury, 15, was born six weeks premature with an upper limb deficiency in his left hand which meant his fingers did not form properly during childhood.

But in September last year, his father Chris, 40, read an article about 3D printing techniques and contacted an organisation in London about the niche process.

Joe Oxenbury, 15, from Leamington Spa, who was born without fingers on his left hand, has now been given a 'bionic' hand, which took 20 hours to make using a 3D printer 

Joe Oxenbury, 15, from Leamington Spa, who was born without fingers on his left hand, has now been given a 'bionic' hand, which took 20 hours to make using a 3D printer 

A volunteer based in London used the measurements of Joe's good hand and a design inspired by George Lucas' iconic Star Wars films to produce the £30 hand

Four months later, Joe and his father were 'lost for words' when the £30 hand arrived at their home in Leamington Spa.

The hand was crafted by a volunteer from Enabling The Future, a global collective which encourages owners of 3D printers to make hands for those need a prosthesis. 

Joe, from Leamington Spa, Warwickshire, said: 'It is a bit like the one Darth Vader had in Star Wars.

'I chose it deliberately as I was going for that kind of style and colour. I was very happy when it arrived. It was better than I thought it would be.

 

'It is not robotic at all, which is great and it feels really comfortable on. I'm able to do things I haven't before.'

The company, based in London, used the measurements of Joe's good hand and a design inspired by George Lucas' iconic Star Wars films to produce the 'bionic' limb, which took 20 hours to make. 

Mr Oxenbury, a full-time artist, said: 'I was just browsing the internet last September and saw that a three-year-old from Hawaii had a 3D printed hand done.

'I was amazed. I got in contact with the same company who put me in touch with Enablingthefuture, a 3D-printing company based in London. 

Joe, a huge Star Wars fan, said: 'It is a bit like the one Darth Vader had in Star Wars'

Joe, a huge Star Wars fan, said: 'It is a bit like the one Darth Vader had in Star Wars'

'They use a special tool to measure Joe's hands and I sent the measurements across online after that.

'It came the post last Wednesday it was amazing. It just came in the post and we were flabbergasted. I was lost for words.'

He added: 'Because it is mechanical and not electric at all, it is organic and it is all really functional.

'It only costs £30 to make because they are volunteers we didn't have to pay anything - we are incredibly grateful.

'Within five or ten minutes, he was picking up bananas and picking up oranges. It seems very intuitive.

'The arm uses strings and no electronics at all. The strings act as tendons would do. It's like something off Star Wars.'

His father Chris, 40 (pictured left), decided to contact a group of volunteers who specialised in 3D printing techniques after reading an article about the niche process

His father Chris, 40 (pictured left), decided to contact a group of volunteers who specialised in 3D printing techniques after reading an article about the niche process

Mr Oxenbury said the 3D-printed version was 'more organic' than previous prosthetics and traditional fake hands were very expensive and 'more cosmetic than practical'.

He added: 'This new hand feels like part of him. When he rotates his wrist, his fingers clench.

'It is quite rare in the UK. I know someone in Wales had one done but that is it really.

'When Joe gets older and grows, we can just print out a new one or new parts to fit him. It is always going to be printable. That is the beautiful thing about it.

'When Joe was born, I thought some kind of technology would be able to help him, and now, 15 years on, we are there.

'It is great to get the word out there that there is hope for kids, and adults, with limb deficiency.'

James Holmes-Siedle, a volunteer from Enablingthefuture, said: 'It's a complicated bit of technology and it took about 20 hours to print the hand.'

Jo Dixon, from charity Reach, who work with children with limb deficiency, added: 'It's something that's moving really fast because printers are so accessible.

'The 3D hands are not as all-singing, all-dancing as they could be, but prosthetic hands for children can be very heavy and cumbersome.

'The 3D printed ones are much lighter and they look funky and robotic.' 


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