A group of high school students in Texas has been engaging in one of the most rewarding after-school projects ever: They're building a prosthetic hand for a 2-year-old boy.
Zaxton has been missing the three middle fingers on his left hand since birth. To make life a little easier, his older brother Christian visited Leander High School in Leander, Texas, to see if his former robotics teacher, Herb Wasson, could help.
Christian was hoping to use the school's 3D printer to create a pre-made hand for his younger brother.
"Our teacher gave him a better idea,” junior Jacob Ostrander told KVUE.
The pre-made design was made for an adult and wouldn't fit on Zaxton's tiny arm. So Wasson asked Ostrander and two other students, James Bell and Lexi Wilson, to see if they could design a kid-sized hand.
After several attempts, the team was able to build a working hand for the boy. The latest model opens and closes with a bend of the wrist.
“We had Zaxton come in one day and he tested it and he loved it, but it didn’t quite fit yet,” Ostrander told The Roar, the school's student newspaper last month. “We’re trying to make it sleeker, more useful, easier to use, and of course fit.”
He also told the school newspaper that they plan to add the logo of one of Zaxton's favorite superheroes to the hand.
KVUE reports the latest version gives Zaxton full use of his hand, but the students are continuing to improve it.
The project won the state title in the SkillsUSA competition. The students say they hope to make it to the national championship event in Kansas City this summer, but they need cash.
"We are not able to afford the trip at this moment, and need assistance," Ostrander wrote on a GoFundMe site set up to raise money for the trip. "If you are able to help, we would greatly appreciate any donations you can give."