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France

French six-year-old receives 3D-printed hand

media A 3D hand Jen Martin Studios/e-NABLE

A six-year-old French boy was to receive an 3D-printed artificial hand on Monday evening. The hand will be replaced as Maxence Contegal, who was born without a right hand, grows.

Maxence's parents, Eric and Virginie, had chosen not to have him fitted with an artificial hand through a medical operation, since he was able to find solutions to the day-to-day problems he faced.

But, although 3D-printed artificial limbs are not medically approved in France, the couple have chosen the process because it should enable him to play with his friends.

The hand, which will be decorated with a giant M for Supermax, can be attached to Maxence's wrist by velcro and replaced at little cost by a bigger one as he grows.

The boy can choose the colours and change them if he wishes.

The first hand will cost less than 50 euros to make.

The case is not the first 3D artificial limb in France but it is the first to be created by Thierry Oquidam, a 3D printer owner who had already performed the same service for children abroad.

The Contegals made contact with Oquidam through the e-NABLE global network, which has already put 1,500 people who needed artificial limbs in touch with 3D printer owners.

"We're proud that e-NABLE has become an international movement and the Enable Community Foundation is becoming a mature organisation," the organisations John Schull told RFI in an email. "We will soon announce that this October at University of Washington Bothell, home of the co-creator of the original 3D-printed hand, we're holding a conference, a silent auction and a benefit dinner to bring collaborators and recipients together, and to raise funds to support and expand our operations. Participants, contributions and inquiries are welcome."

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