28th Oct, 2016

Teen born without fingers gets new bionic hand

Leamington Editorial 27th Feb, 2015 Updated: 7 hours ago

A STAR Wars fan born with no fingers on one hand ‘feels like Darth Vader’ after having a bionic hand made.

Joe Oxenbury was born six weeks premature with no fingers on his left hand.

Although the 15-year-old was never bullied at school and could still do everyday things like playing his Xbox, he wanted to be able to use both hands.

His artist dad Chris, who hails from Leamington, managed to raise £3,000 and buy a prosthetic hand for his son – but when it arrived Joe found it lacked functionality.

Chris then began researching alternatives and discovered a company making hands using 3D printers – which would only cost £30.

He said: “I was browsing the internet and saw a child from Hawaii had a 3D printed hand. I was amazed and got in touch with a 3D company in London.

“They used a special tool to measure Joe’s hands and the new hand arrived through the post. We were flabbergasted because it is mechanical and not electric. It is organic and really functional.

“Within five minutes he was picking up oranges and bananas. The arm is not electronic at all. It uses strings which act as tendons do.”

Joe, who attends a school in Stourbridge, chose a unique hand design inspired by his favourite film.

The teenager said: “It is a bit like the one Darth Vader had in Star Wars. I chose it deliberately as I was going for that kind of style and colour. I was very happy when it arrived. It was better than I thought it would be.

“It is not robotic at all, which is great, and it feels really comfortable on. I’m able to do things I haven’t before.”

As Joe grows he can have a new hand printed – which takes around 20 hours – or have parts made to fit the hand.”

Chris Oxenbury tirelessly researched to try and find a ‘fully functional’ hand for his son Joe. (s)