A pint-sized boy who was born with a tiny hand and a few fingers now has a life-changing thing he calls "very cool": a "super-hand" made with a 3-D printer.
"It's very cool and it's very special," 5-year-old Jonny Maldonado said. "I flex it, and I can use it."
Jonny's indomitable spirit had helped him adjust, but the 3-D printing technology and the new hand have changed his life.
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"I still can't wrap my mind what a 3-D printer is and how this comes out of it," Jonny's mother Felicia Maldonado said. "It was a blessing, and we are ecstatic."
Children born with deformities have had to rely on heavy, limited prosthesis to do the things other kids do -- until now. The 3-D printing technology is changing all of that.
"An old prosthetic weighed about 15 pounds, which is about Jonny's whole weight, and many of them look like claws," Jonny's orthopedic surgeon Dr. Nina Lightdale-Miric said.
It takes the 3-D printer 24 hours to make a whole hand. A finger takes just half an hour.
"You take a 3-D image, send it through a software called slicer software," said Alison Glazer, a USC bioengineering student who helps design the hands. "(It) literally slices it up into those layers. You send that into the printer and it melts the plastic layer by layer."
Jonny has different hands for playing baseball, riding a bike and doing homework. Each hand costs about $100.
"His story is just beginning," Lightdale-Miric said. "What he will do with this super-hand or what he will do with the 3-D technology in the future is limitless."