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Halifax man creates artificial hand for Costa Rican girl (3 photos)

Jake Boudreau used his 3D printer to make the prosthetic for Isabella, who was born with a birth defect that left her with a partial palm and no fingers on her left hand
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A 6-year-old girl in Costa Rica has a new artificial hand thanks to a Halifax man and some local school kids.

Jake Boudreau used his 3D printer to make the prosthetic for Isabella, who was born with a birth defect that left her with a partial palm and no fingers on her left hand. 

Isabella's mom got in contact with him through e-NABLE, a group that helps those in need of prosthetic hands and arms.

"We took her measurements and we actually took a lot of photos from the recipient," Boudreau told NEWS 95.7's The Sheldon MacLeod Show. "We put it in a software called 'Blender' where we did a virtual sizing so we achieved a near perfect fit."

Isabella requested that new her artificial hand have a Little Mermaid theme, so Boudreau enlisted the help of a class at LeMarchant-St. Thomas Elementary to assist with the design.

"We sourced several concepts from the kids and challenged them to assist us in creating a very esthetically pleasing yet functional device," said Boudreau.

He was inspired to start making artificial limbs after watching an e-NABLE YouTube video last November.

Shortly after, he launched Kindness3D, a non-profit e-NABLE chapter, so he could join in and start making prosthetics. 

His first project was to create a full artificial arm for a woman in Sao Paulo and he's now raising money to make one for a man in the Philippines. 

"He's missing his right hand below the wrist so we're going to have to make another full prosthetic arm device and then ship it to him," he explained. "So we're going to raise some money to offset the shipping costs and the manufacturing costs."

Boudreau said each device is fairly cost effective, usually less than $100, but the 3D printer does run up his power bills.

This is something he does in his spare time, but he's hoping to scale up operations through a grant from the province. To date, all of the funding for Kindness3D has come from crowdfunding.

"We like the crowdfunding aspect because it's quick, but we're noticing it's a bit sporadic and we'd like to have solid research funding from the province towards this tech."




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Meghan Groff

About the Author: Meghan Groff

Born in Michigan, raised in Ontario, schooled in Indiana & lives in Nova Scotia; Meghan is the community editor for HalifaxToday.ca.
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