3-Year-Old Boy Born Without Fingers Gets “Iron Man” Hand Thanks to 3-D Printer

State   |   Sarah Zagorski   |   Sep 11, 2014   |   7:06PM   |   Honolulu, HI

A three-year-old Hawaiian boy received a robotic hand thanks to a 3D Printer. Nicknamed “Bubba”, Rayden Kahae was born without fingers due to Amniotic Band Syndrome (ABS), which occurs when an unborn baby becomes entangled in the fibrous string-life amniotic bands in the womb. The bands restrict blood flow and can cause a wide spectrum of clinical abnormalities.

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raydenHis grandmother, Rulan Waikiki, says, “Bubba was born with ABS which is amniotic band syndrome. It’s where the baby’s hands end up without some fingers, some with none, couple little stumps instead of fingers.”

But it’s life as he knew it.  And while he thrived, he too knew he was different.

“He knew from earlier on when he could notice that his sister had two hands and he didn’t, that he always said he doesn’t like that hand he wanted one like Tita’s,” Waikiki said.

Several months ago, Rulan Waikiki discovered an exciting option for her grandson on the internet with a group called E-nable. It was a life-changing discovery.

For years, patients spent up to $40,000 for a commercially made prosthetic hand. But thanks to 3D printing technology, a mechanical body-powered hand costs only $50 to build.

He wanted an “Ironman” hand.

Last week, Bubba’s Ironman hand arrived in the mail. His dad, Moses, captured the special moment on camera.

And instead of reaching for a ball or a toy, Bubba held his own hand.

“I’m not sure if the video, you can hear it on there, but he does say, ‘I can hold my own hand.'” his grandmother says.

And here’s where it gets even more amazing, the cost for Bubba’s hand… Not a penny.

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The non-profit group E-nable that operates off donations and the expertise of volunteers provided Bubba’s hand at no cost.

Bubba will turn four in November and his grandmother says his hand will be refitted as he gets older. She hopes other children like Bubba and even adults in Hawaii can benefit from the wonders of technology.

Waikiki says, “Some of them right now are being teased in school because they don’t have a hand or they’re different. But once they get this hand, their self-confidence is going to go through the roof.”

Amniotic Band Syndrome affects 1 in 1,200 births and is not linked to genetic or hereditary conditions. However, some risk factors that may be associated with ABS include low birth rate, maternal illness, prematurity, and trauma during pregnancy.