An eight-year-old Paulerspury boy has been able to hold a pen for the first time and draw a picture, thanks to a state-of-the-art new hand.
William Joyner was born with the fingers to his dominant left hand missing.
But now University of Bedfordshire academics have used 3D printing to create a new hand for Will.
Technician Mark Hooper and David Jazani, who lectures in computer science and technology, were contacted by Will’s mother Jo a year ago.
Mark said: “Jo had found a design of a hand online made by scientist in Africa.
“She wanted to see if we could adapt it. It was brilliant, but we wanted to see if we could make it less clunky and more usable for a young boy. Also we wanted to incorporate the use of William’s thumb to make the hand as dexterous as possible.”
Will, who attends Paulerspury School, has been able to move his new hand using signals from muscles in his arm.
There are still some adaptations to be made, as the hand needs to be able to withstand the everyday activities of an eight-year-old boy.
David Jazani said: “This will be an on-going project for the next 12 years while William grows. But we hope, with the latest modifications, William will be walking out of the university with a fully working hand soon.
Jo said: “It means Will be able to do the same things as other children.
“He’ll be able to do complex things like tie his laces but also simple activities like holding a drink in one hand and an ice lolly in the other.
“I can’t thank these guys enough. What they’re doing for William is life changing.”