Children given prosthetic hands thanks to collaborative scheme

Families with youngsters having the 3D printed hands fitted in Norwich Castle. Three year old Franki

Families with youngsters having the 3D printed hands fitted in Norwich Castle. Three year old Frankie Stevens and mum Rachel. Photo : Steve Adams - Credit: Steve Adams

Children with limb deficiencies are set to benefit from new prosthetic hands designed by volunteers.

The youngsters will have improved dexterity thanks to a project run by several groups in conjunction with an exhibition at Norwich Castle.

Four children received their prosthetics at a workshop on Saturday, and more families are invited to take part in the free scheme.

Rachel Stevens, of Lowestoft, mother of Frankie Stevens, three, who was born with a partial left hand, said: 'We're hoping Frankie will be able to ride a bike now she has this hand.

'It's a bit of excitement for her and she has just started pre-school so her friends there will be really interested in the hand. It's come at a good time.

'It's a very positive thing.'

The children were measured for the limbs in October and the prosthetics were created by 3D printing.

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Frankie's hand, known as the Raptor Reloaded, is made up of around 31 parts and is created using a biodegradable thermoplastic called polylactic acid.

When the user flexes their wrist downwards, it causes elastic cords attached to the fingers to tighten, resulting in a gripping action.

While it is not as advanced as some medical models, it is significantly cheaper to make – costing just £10 for the materials.

The project is a collaboration between Norwich Castle, which has put on an exhibition themed on connections between craft, technology and the community, the Arts Council, Crafts Council, Norwich Hackspace, and DoEs Liverpool.

The latter two groups are made up of volunteers who have printed the prosthetics.

Marion Catlin, of Norwich Hackspace, said: 'As well as helping the children with everyday things, the hands will also give a psychological boost.

'If the hands need modifying, the families can come back to us and we can change them.'

For more information on the project, contact curator Hannah Higham at Norwich Castle on 01603 493649.

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