Experts from University of Bedfordshire fit youngster with 3D printed hand

William Joyner with his new hand

William Joyner with his new hand

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A schoolboy is one step closer to having a fully functioning left hand thanks to experts from the University of Bedfordshire.

Eight-year-old William Joyner from Towcester, Northamptonshire, had a prototype 3D printed hand fitted by academics from the University’s Computer Science Department in April, and returned for the first fitting of what will be his permanent hand.

The hand, made out of blue and white plastic as a nod to Will’s favourite football team Reading FC, and reinforced with aircraft grade aluminium hinges, will allow left-handed Will to do the everyday things that we take for granted, like holding a pen or an ice lolly.

“I love my hand, it’s much more comfy than the one I tried on before. My friends are really excited for me. I can’t wait to take it home and show everyone,” said Will, who aspires to play football in the British Paralympic football team one day.

Will’s mum Jo said: “It’s brilliant, it will make such a difference to him. Instead of people feeling sorry for him because of his hand, now they will be really impressed by his new one.

“It will help build his confidence and strengthen his left side because as the moment he doesn’t use it much. That will really help him, especially with his football.”

Once some minor adjustments have been made, including adding silicone to the fingers to help them grip, Will will be able to take his new hand home.

The hand was developed by Senior Lecturer in Computer Science and Technology David Jazani and Mark Hooper, a technician and demonstrator who is currently studying part-time for a PhD in Computer Science.

David said: “This is the best project I have ever worked on. As engineers we are always looking for solutions to help people. This is only the beginning, we are looking to develop the hand as Will grows.”

“This will make such a difference to Will’s life,” Mark added. “It’s been brilliant watching him take to the hand so quickly and seeing the smile on his face. As the technology progresses, we hope to be able to help more people in the future.”