3-year-old Maui boy receives ‘Ironman’-like 3-D printed hand

Rayden "Bubba" Kahae (Photos: Rulan Waikiki)

The world of 3-D printing is ever-evolving and is changing lives in the process

A 3-year-old old Maui boy knows all about that.

Rayden Kahae is a happy and loving child, but the boy they call “Bubba” has always been different from the rest of the neighborhood kids in Wailuku.

“Bubba was born with ABS which is Amniotic Band Syndrome,” said his grandmother, Rulan Waikiki. “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 Titas,” 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 3-D printing technology, a mechanical body-powered hand costs only $50 to build.

“He wanted an Ironman hand,” Waikiki said.

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

“As soon as he put it on and was able to close the hand, his face just lit up,” Waikiki said.

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,'” Waikiki said.

Waikiki says the cost for Bubba’s hand was “absolutely nothing. Not a penny.”

The non-profit group E-Nable, which 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.

“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,” Waikiki said.

Click here for more information on E-Nable.

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