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Bay Area Teen Designs, Builds Prosthetic Hand for Romanian Man

LARKSPUR (KPIX) -- Jaden Ramos, a sophomore at Redwood High School in Larkspur, used a 3-D printer to build a robotic hand for a man in Romania whom he's never met, for free.

In middle school, Jaden got hooked on 3-D printing, creating all kinds of goofy things.

And then his teacher threw down a challenge.

"'How about you try making a prosthetic hand?' And you know, I'm like -- challenge accepted," Jaden said.

There are websites with people requesting prosthetic limbs and in December, Jaden found one for a man in Romania who lost his hand and arm in an industrial accident.

Jaden began working on a design and after many failed attempts came up with a model using screws, strings and dental rubber bands.

"There's these strings right here and those act like your tendons in your hand. And when they push the palm down, it closes the hand. And it's the same premise but when he bends his elbow, it causes the strings to close resulting in a closed fist," Jaden said.

Jaden had never met the man, but working from photos, he finished the arm and sent it off, not sure if it would even work.

That's when he got his reward: a video of the man, whose name Jaden still doesn't know, shows him lifting various objects, including a heavy bucket of paint.

As an engineering feat, it's a success. From a human standpoint, it is nothing short of heroic.

"He's able to do more stuff now. He's learning to drive a stick-shift car now. So, it was really heartwarming to see that I made an impact on someone's life," Jaden said.

They say technology, at its most advanced, is indistinguishable from magic.

The fact that a 15-year-old kid can create a new hand for a stranger shows the awesome potential for good that these "magical" machines possess.

"I'm excited," Jaden said. "I'm excited to see, when I get older, what this thing is going to do…I might even be a part of it. Who knows?"

Jaden is already looking ahead to his next prosthetic creation.

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