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HEALTH: High Schoolers create prosthetic hand for young boy

Updated: Thursday, April 10 2014, 08:43 PM CDT
A group of high school students developed and made a partial prosthetic hand. 

And they won a state competition.
That honor is not the most important thing they achieved.

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

But take a closer look - and you'll see this two-year old boy -- is *missing three fingers on his left hand.

Jacob Ostrander/Leander High School Junior: "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."

Instead of a pre-made design for an adult, Leander High School Robotics teacher Herb Wasson -- thought why create a new one.

"For someone as small as Zaxton I didn't think it was going to work."
So these three Leander High School Juniors -- James Bell, Lexi Wilson and Jacob Ostrander -- stepped up to the plate.

"Each of us is good at a particular part of the project."
James, Lexi and Jacob spent months - and countless hours -- perfecting the design.

Lexi Wilson/Leander High School Junior: "There were times that James would stay until six in the afternoon after school and Jacob would be here at seven in the morning."

The first 3-D 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."

Five attempts to perfect the hand later -
"All he has to do is bend his wrist a little, and it curls the fingers."

Zaxton was born with only a thumb - and a pinky -
"Right now he only has a crab motion, closing his thumb and pinky together."

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."

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."

They aren't doing it for class credit - and they never expected to win State.
Now this team is preparing to compete against teams - from all over the country -- but either way -- they say they've *already won.

"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."

James Bell/Leander High School Junior:  "Knowing that I could help Zaxton have a better, happier life is really really important to me."

Helping this  little boy - do what other kids can - one design - at a time.

HEALTH: High Schoolers create prosthetic hand for young boy


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