Triangle students 3D print prosthetic hands for children

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DURHAM, North Carolina (WTVD) -- The Helping Hands Project has spread to universities and colleges across the Triangle.

Students use 3D printers to make prosthetic hands for children who need them.

Getting a new hand - it's a big moment for a child with a limb difference.

The Helping Hand Project provides free prosthetics to children with limb differences. They've given a hand to more than 24 children across the nation - many of which are 3D printed by students across the state, like Hanna Brown at Durham Tech.

"That is incredibly rewarding," Brown said. "When I was a kid, I actually wanted to do this."

The idea is that children without fingers can put their arm through the prosthetic, bending their wrist to contract the fingers and pick things up.

Because college students make the hands at school - each hand costs about $30 to make - but takes a while to assemble.

"It takes a couple weeks to make a hand," Brown said. "Each part is printed out. Each of these fingers is a bunch of different components that go together with rubber bands and string or fishing line."

You can donate to the Helping Hand Project here.

Each 3D printed finger is a lesson in technology and compassion.

"To provide something for people who are in need," Steve Leadon, Durham Tech professor of anatomy and physiology said. "Take time to do that, and learn some skills along the way, they can carry forward for their future."

"It just gives you another hand," Brown said. "They can do everything ... it just makes it better, easier. A lot of them think it's cool; a lot of it is also the morale for the kids."
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