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Young Amputee Gets Two 3D-Printed Arms From The Kindness Of His Community

KMBC/KSHB-TV

A three-year-old Shawnee boy who learned to ride a bike with a 3D-printed prosthetic arm received a new limb just in time for the holidays.

Hudson Borton is an active young boy who was struggling to learn how to ride his tricycle. He was born with symbrachydactyly, a condition characterized by limb anomalies, and does not have left arm from the elbow down.

"We put him on a couple of times," Hudson's father, Nick Borton told KCTV. "We had him try it out and he just didn't really understand and couldn't figure out how to ride it."

Hudson received a custom-made artificial limb by a student and two instructors at the Metropolitan Community College (MMC) in Kansas City. The new arm is able to latch itself onto the bike's handle, giving him easy control of the bike's movements.

"You have a top and a bottom that hold onto the grip and then the third part is a ball joint," Nick said.  

The 3D-printed arm has a replaceable part, which will be able to switched out as Hudson grows. It only took the team less than two days to design and print the arm.

"I was so full of joy because I was so happy I could help out someone in the real world," student David Valdez said.

"It was a very fulfilling thing for me watching, watching their reactions knowing we just changed Hudson's bike riding, his life, pretty much," Mike Cline, the programming engineer at MCC, added.

However, this wouldn't be the only time the community would come together to help Hudson.

A year later, Hudson received another new red and yellow arm from the local children's charity Variety KC and volunteers at Kansas City's STEAM Studio.

"He's perfect the way God made him, and this is just something that can help him in his everyday life, and something cool he can kind of show his friends," Hudson's mother, Lyndsey Borton, told KMBC.

The team spent two weeks to code and print a prosthetic arm specifically tailored to Hudson. The artificial limb is composed of seven parts, with each taking about four to seven hours to print.

Hudson Borton's new hand
KCTV

While a normal prosthetic arm costs about $25,000 on average, the 3D-printed limb only costed a few hundred dollars, at no cost to the Borton family.

Kendra Gagnon, the director of the Variety's Children Charity of Greater Kansas City said there's nothing better than to have a life-changing piece of equipment "designed for kids, by kids."

"Young scientists are looking at the traditional medical model and seeing pieces of equipment that cost maybe thousands and thousands of dollars and going, 'Wait a minute, I can 3D print that for just a few dollars. And not only that, but I can work with that child and family and we can co-create something,'" Gagnon told KCTV.

Hudson Borton's new hand
KCTV

Lyndsey said the new prosthetic will change her son's life for the better.

"It's amazing for him," Lyndsey said. "It's a confidence booster. It's something cool he can show his friends. So, we are pretty excited."

Do you think 3D printers should be the new method to create prosthetic limbs?

Maya has been working at Shared for a year. She just begrudgingly spent $200 on a gym membership. Contact her at maya@shared.com