Web Exclusive: Texas teens help boy by creating prosthetic hand

Web Exclusive

(CNN/KVUE) - Thanks to a new prosthetic hand a young boy in Texas will get a chance to do things just like other children his age. A team of teens and their teacher are behind his new hand.

Two-year old Zaxton can go nearly anywhere on two hands, two feet or on the shoulders of his big brother Christian. If you take a closer look at Zaxton, you will see this little boy is missing three fingers on his left 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 one.

"For someone as small as Zaxton, I didn't think it was going to work," said Wasson.

So three Leander High School students, James Bell, Lexi Wilson and Jacob Ostrander stepped up to the plate.

"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.

James, Lexi and Jacob spent months and 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 only 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."

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 they never expected to win State, but they did. Now the team is preparing to compete against teams from all over the country, but either way, they say they have 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," said Ostrander.

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

They're helping Zaxton do what other kids can... one design at a time.


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