Boy gets prosthetic hand made by 3D printer


NEW PALTZ - Six-year-old Joseph Gilbert of Chester, N.Y., was born without any fingers on his left hand. But thanks to a new "robohand," designed and built with a 3D printer at SUNY New Paltz’s Hudson Valley Advanced Manufacturing Center, Joseph will hopefully experience the closest thing to having a fully functional hand.

Gilbert was born with symbrachydactyly, an abnormality that occurs between the ninth and 10th week of pregnancy, says his mother, Dori Gilbert. The cause of the condition is unknown, and is reported to affect one in every 10,000 births, she says.

Hudson Valley Advanced Manufacturing Center Assistant Director Katherine Wilson '14g worked with electrical engineering student Adam Carlock '14 to design and construct the hand. By flexing his wrist, Joseph can control the fingers of the robohand to grip objects.

On July 16, Joseph came to the SUNY New Paltz campus with Dori, his sister, Brandi, and a family friend to try on his new hand for the first time.

"The staff of the Hudson Valley Advanced Manufacturing Center is very excited to be able to provide Joseph with a robohand," said Freedman. "Creating functional prosthetics for children is one of the best examples of how 3D design and printing can be used to build remarkable objects at a small fraction of the cost of standard fabrication methods."

According to Freedman, the robohand cost $15 in materials to make.