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Updated 09 January 2019

Dad 3D prints a bionic hand for his son

Jamie Miller was born without a left hand. After finding out there was an 18-month waiting list for a robotic hand, his dad made one himself.

Eleven-year-old Jamie Miller was born without a left hand, but he grew up learning how to get through life without a prosthetic arm. His dad, 51-year-old Callum Miller, told the Gazette Live, “Jamie was born without one hand but he honestly never made an issue of it. He still does everything any other little kid would. He’s always been out playing and enjoying himself with friends.

“Last October somebody sent me a link to Team UnLimbited who make robotic limbs. I thought it was great so messaged them and looked online at what they did. Unfortunately, there was an 18-month waiting list for their printers which was a huge disappointment.”

Learning how to 3D print

But that didn’t stop Miller – he decided he would just make his own for Jamie. "I knew nothing at all about it before we bought the 3D printer," he told Sky News.

But, after watching many YouTube tutorials on how to use the printer and following online forums, he made Jamie nine bionic hands. Each hand is a different colour, and some have flashing lights, while another features the Batman logo.

"Jamie comes up with designs as well as I do, including a steampunk one which is gold and bronze. We just fire off ideas at each other, really," said Miller.

Jamie's favourite is his steampunk arm. He told Sky News, "First of all, it just looks amazing, and say if I'm going to a party the lights show off a lot. It's not too bright but it looks really cool."

Plans for more advanced arms

Miller and Jamie have plans to make a more advanced arm.

Miller explains that the arm works on Myo sensors, "which are little sensors which sit on Jamie's muscle on his arm and we plug them into the laptop at the moment but it has a little board that takes the programme. When Jamie moves his arm the fingers open and close. At the moment it's quite mechanical.

"The idea of this [new] one is that it'll be Jamie's muscles and technically him trying to move his fingers so it will sort of be a semi-bionic arm on its own."

The arms they've made have enabled Jamie to hold and carry things, and throw and catch a ball with his left hand. "Overall it's made him more confident with himself," Miller said. 

Image credit: iStock 

 
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