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Man Burned In House Fire 2 Decades Ago Receives Prosthetic Hands

NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) -- A college student who was severely burned in a house fire in Island Park, two decades ago has been given a new lease on life.

Danny Gropper, a quadruple amputee became one of the first recipients of a brand new technology.

"It's really a game changer," he told CBS 2's Carolyn Gusoff.

Gropper has been using a series of hooks and appliances to do things like drive and play golf. Now he will be able to do those things with a pair of human-like hands called Michelangelos.

The hands are made by Ottobock, a German company, and are able to mimic seven different hand motions, Danny is the first person in the world to be fitted with them. They cost $80,000 each and were covered by his insurance.

Gropper was fitted for the hands by Progressive Orthotics and Prosthetics, where the owner Dan Bastian is also an amputee.

"We are getting closer and closer to human anatomy, Danny can actually move his thumb into different positions," said Bastian.

Gropper controls his new hands by contracting muscles which send an electric signal, which is then converted to motion.

Danny's new hands regulate pressure, which allow him to do things like eat a grape without crushing it.

Gropper's mother, Anne Epstein, called her son an inspiration.

"We knew we had a very long road but he proved to be unbelievable," she said.

Gropper said that he is glad that he can be an inspiration, but that he isn't looking for sympathy.

"I never want people to feel sorry for me. Being an inspiration, I'm okay with that," he said.

Danny told CBS 2 that he soon hopes to be able to flash a thumbs up with his new hands.

Where do you think medical technology will go from here? Let us know in our comments section below...

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