3-D printing: Dad builds prosthetic hand for son(Read article summary)
Twelve-year-old Leon McCarthy was born without fingers on his left hand, but thanks to his determined dad, a generous inventor, and a 3-D printer, he now has a brand new set of digits.
Twelve-year-old Leon McCarthy was born different. Due to a complication during gestation, Leon was born without any fingers on his left hand. Thanks to his persistent father Paul McCarthy, a special effects artist, and a state-of-the-art 3-D printer, Leon no longer sees himself as different. Heâ€™s special, he says.
CBS Evening Newsâ€™ Michelle Miller caught up with Leon and his dad last month. Since the story has been picked up by additional news outlets, including FoxNews, msnNOW, and NPR.
Whatâ€™s so appealing about Leonâ€™s story that it warrants so much media attention? Prosthetics are nothing new. Archaeologists found an Ancient Egyptian prosthetic toe fashioned out of wood and leather when excavating a tomb in 2000, LiveScience reported. Prosthetic limbs have come a long way since then. Prosthetic legs have become a routine sight around Boston, where dozens of people injured by during the Boston Marathon bombings are learning to navigate on their new high-tech legs.
Yet Leonâ€™s story has bobbed to the surface amid a sea of heartwarming stories of amputees that have been able to make their bodies whole again with the help of technology. Whatâ€™s truly amazing about Leonâ€™s hand is that his dad made it for him on a 3-D printer, for a miniscule fraction of the cost of traditional prosthetics.
After scouring the Internet for two years in search of blueprints for a new hand for his son, Mr. McCarthy stumbled across Ivan Owen, a special effects artist and puppeteer Â from Bellingnam, Wash. who had successfully created mechanical fingers for a carpenter and a 5-year-old boy in South Africa.
When McCarthy told Leon what he had found, the 12-year-old was skeptical, Ms. Miller reports. However, the proof is in the fingers. Leonâ€™s colorful new digits are dexterous enough to manipulate a pencil. And for the first time, he tells Miller, he feels, â€śspecial instead of different.â€ť
And dad couldnâ€™t be happier. â€śMaking your kids happy is the most rewarding thing you could have as a dad,â€ť McCarthy told Miller.