Students create prosthetic hand for 2-year-old boy

TEXAS — Two-year-old Zaxton can go nearly anywhere on two hands, two feet or on the shoulders of his big brother Christian.

But if you take a closer look at Zaxton, you will see this little boy is missing three fingers on his left hand.

His big brother Christian decided to reach out to Herb Wasson, his former Leander High School robotics teacher for help.prosethic hand

“A former student of his came in wanting to print a hand that was already designed by a man in South Africa, but Mr. Wasson, our teacher, gave him a better idea,” said Leander High School junior Jacob Ostrander.

Instead of a premade design for an adult, Wasson thought why not create a new design made specifically for Zaxton.

“It was an adult sized hand. Maybe a teenager could use it, maybe down to 12 but for someone as small as Zaxton, I didn’t think it was going to work,” said Wasson.

That’s when he asked three of his students, James Bell, Lexi Wilson and Jacob Ostrander to step up to the plate and create a whole new design.

“I started to learn how to use the program really fast, and I started designing things that were on the notebook, so we came up with this first prototype,” said junior James Bell.

Beginning in December, James, Lexi and Jacob spent countless hours perfecting the design.

“There were times that James would stay until six in the afternoon after school and Jacob would be here at seven in the morning,” said junior Lexi Wilson.

The first 3D printed hand was too big, and it was followed by several others.

“The next one we got it working, we got it figured out, and now we just needed to improve it,” Bell said.

Five attempts to perfect the hand later and “all he has to do is bend his wrist a little, and it curls the fingers” said Bell.

Zaxton was born with what’s called cleft hand, meaning he only developed a thumb and a pinky on his left hand.

“Right now he only has a crab motion, closing his thumb and pinky together,” said Wilson.

Their prosthetic will give him full use of his hand.

“We still want him to be able to use his hand, but he’ll be able to pick up a variety of different objects.”

Wilson tells KVUE that the team still has plans to keep making it better.

“We started this for him and we want to end it for him. We want it to fit him correctly and be what he wants and something he wouldn’t be ashamed to wear,” said Wilson.

They aren’t doing it for class credit, and these high school students never expected to win the Skills USA State Competition but they did.

Now this team of three is preparing to compete against teams from all over the country for Skills USA Nationals in June.

Win or lose, these high school kids say they’re doing this for one reason.

“For me it was seeing Zaxton’s reaction when we would give him his new hand,” said Wilson.

“The feelings you get whenever Zaxton puts on the new hand and he’s like, ‘Oh I love this,’ and he starts playing around, it’s just so much fun,” said Ostrander.

“Knowing that I could help Zaxton have a better, happier life is really, really important to me,” Bell said.

To compete at nationals in Kansas City, Missouri in June, the students need financial help.

To raise the money, the students have started a donation fund.

Source: CNN/KVUE

2 comments

  • Kimberly

    Good luck to those students!

    As a parent of a child whom was born missing fingers (she has thumb and 2 fingers which are fused tlgether by bone; complete complex Syndactyly), I thouroughly appreciate the efforts of these young people and wish more awareness could be spread on congenital limb deformities.

    What an amazing opportunity this young boy now has!

    • kathy waters

      Zaxton is very lucky to have Lexi, Jacob and James. They are such wonderful people. I just met with another mom yesterday who also had a hand like Zaxton but he also has the two fingers fused like your daughter. She and many others get support from lucky fin which is a good place to connect. You are probably already aware of e-nable and lucky fin. E-nable has a whole community of volunteers accross the country providing free resources for 3D printing prosthetic hands. That is actually where Zaxton and I initially got the idea to really start looking into this. Lexi Jacob and James took him in like a bird under wing when presented with the idea. Just wonderful kids.

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