Meagan wants to play guitar with her new 3D-printed hand

2017-02-13 16:12
Meagan van der Merwe with her 3D-printed hand. (Supplied)

Meagan van der Merwe with her 3D-printed hand. (Supplied)

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Johannesburg – "I want to learn how to play the guitar with my new hand, because I would like to become a singer one day."

So says Meagan van der Merwe, 6, who recently got a 3D-printed prosthetic hand.

The Westonaria girl was born with brachydactyly, a condition which resulted in her left hand not developing fully. She has no fingers on the hand, but can move her wrist, Netwerk24 reported.

Her prosthetic hand was made with a 3D printer by Solid Edge Technology, a Johannesburg company. It took about 24 hours to make and it only cost R1 000. A prosthetic hand can usually cost up to R200 000.

Meagan likes showing off her new hand.

"I’ve shown my hand to my teacher and school friends, as well as my family," she says.

Her mom, Michelle, is overjoyed about her daughter’s new hand.

"It’s a wonderful opportunity for her, one that not everyone gets. It was difficult to find someone who could help us. Now she has someone who is prepared to be there for her for the rest of her life."

'She can do anything'

It hadn’t been easy for Van Der Merwe to find a company which could help Meagan.

"I saw a programme about 3D printing. As luck would have it, I met the person who’d been on the programme and asked if they could help me. They could help up to a point, and then suggested we contact Solid Edge," said Van Der Merwe.

Van der Merwe said Meagan was adapting well with the hand.

"Initially it was a bit difficult, but things are OK. She’s still a bit clumsy because she’d learnt to do everything using her right hand. She never actually used the left hand. Now she has to train her brain to use her left hand more."

But, having to grow up with just one hand has never stopped Meagan from taking part in some activities.

"She’s a good netball and tennis player. She can do anything, I promise you. She even ties her own shoelaces. The initial problems with cycling are also a thing of the past now," said Van Der Merwe.

And some day Meagan might even be a Jimi Hendrix.

"We've already bought her a guitar, but she can’t start lessons yet. She can’t hold it all that well. As soon as she’s ready, we’ll enrol her for guitar lessons," said Van Der Merwe.

Read more on:    johannesburg  |  good news  |  3d printing  |  health

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