LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - A 6-year-old Louisville boy is experiencing life in a whole new way thanks to some University of Louisville students and breakthrough 3D technology.
The students made Lucas Abraham a bionic hand using a 3D printer. Now, Lucas is feeling a little bit like a superhero.
Lucas loves baseball and is a big fan of former Major League pitcher Jim Abbott.
"He's pretty cool because he has a little hand and he can play baseball," Lucas said.
University of Louisville Bioengineering Professor Gina Bertocci described the condition as Symbrachydactyly. Lucas, like Abbott, was born without a right hand. With the condition, the fingers are not fully formed and bones may be fused together. Still Lucas has been a happy, well-adjusted kid, but his grandmother, Julie Abraham, took an extra step to make his life a little bit better.
"I heard him say to his mom one day, he said 'mom, when will I ever get a robo hand?' And it just got to me," Julie Abraham said as she put her hand to her heart.
She wrote a letter to the UofL. Bertocci and three teams of students designed and created prototypes for Lucas with open source software on the internet, then they used cutting edge 3D printing facilities at UofL. They came up with three hands for Lucas and during the first week of December he tried them out.
Lucas said, "I'm happy that I have this hand because I've never had a robo hand before and now I can pick up things with this hand."
Small things many of us take for granted are a big deal for his mom and dad.
His mother, Rachel Abraham said when he tried the hand on, "The most exciting part was seeing him catch that ball and throw it with that arm for the first time."
He father, Erik Abraham, said, "Just a minute ago, he waved to me and he waved with the robo hand which he's never done before."
Student Alyssa Hoeper, who helped design the hands, said, "To see his face light up with a smile and everything it was indescribable, it was amazing that we actually influenced somebody's life."
Lucas can open and close the fingers with a flex of his wrist. The biggest hand created for him is great for throwing a ball or holding a cup. A red and black Spiderman hand can pick up smaller things and a green hand glows in the dark and even has a flashlight.
"It was really cool when I walked into school and everybody was like 'whoa! Look at that hand, it's super cool,'" Lucas said of his classmates reactions.
The Bowen Elementary student got a lot of requests - and not for just handshakes.
"They wanted to do a fist pump, a high-five and shake it," Lucas said.
He said for the first time he could do all of those things. Lucas also got two requests at school for autographs.
"Today is a very special day for me," Lucas said, "I've never been on TV before!"