14-year-old Leonardo Viscarra was born with an undeveloped left hand, due to a medical condition called amniotic band syndrome. This left him incapable of using the left hand even for basic tasks like grabbing and picking objects, while he wasn’t financially strong enough to afford a sensor based prosthetic.
But this didn’t stop this amazing kid from overcoming his disability as the Bolivian decided to build a prosthetic hand himself using 3D-printing technology after being inspired by his toy car.
And just after few years, he actually managed to build a prosthetic clamp which wasn’t exactly a hand but allowed him to grasp objects. He kept on improving the design towards a more mechanized version.
He found hope in a charity in the USA that donated 3D-printed robotic hands to children. But sadly, the hand proved too large for him to use properly since it wasn’t made according to custom sizes.
Despite the setback, Viscarra refused to give up on his struggle and took great strides towards building his own robotic hand. Using the prosthetic hand he received from the U.S. as a sample, Leonardo managed to design the framework of his own robotic hand, which used nylon strings to respond to the movements of his wrist allowing his fingers to move.
Then he requested the Sawers Robotics Institute in his home city of Cochabamba to help in manufacturing the design, which they gladly accepted. And this is how the 14-year resilient boy finally managed to have an advanced prosthetic hand for merely $100!
And although the design has its quirks such as its fingers not closing completely, the impressive hand is a superb alternate for people who can’t afford advanced bionic hands that end up costing around $15,000. He has already earned a status of a celebrity, with many people coming to him to make a similar design for them.
Just goes on to prove that with grit, determination, and perseverance, the sky is the limit! And for people like Viscarra, even the sky is limitless!
He now plans to dedicate his life to building robotic prosthesis, and study biomedicine in the future! And one thing is for sure; no one is stopping him from achieving this dream as well!