Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

World Series Spotlights Robo-hand Made At UNLV

Courtesy: UNLV

Hailey Dawson, left, wearing the 3-D printed hand UNLV graduate student Maria Gerardi, right, created for her.

If you’ve been following the World Series, you may have noted a special appearance during game four.

Hailey Dawson shows off her hand/Courtesy: UNLV

Seven-year-old Hailey Dawson of Las Vegas threw the first pitch during the Dodgers-Astros game on Saturday – and she did so using a 3-D printed hand created by UNLV.

Dawson was born with Poland syndrome, a rare birth defect which left her missing muscle tissue and fingers on her right hand.

Three years ago, the engineering department at UNLV used a 3D printer to create a hand for her. The hand uses fishing wire to move the fingers, allowing her to grasp items.

“It allows her to grab objects, throw objects by simply bending her wrist it causes the prosthetic hand to close and grasp,” Maria Gerardi, a graduate student who has worked with Hailey, told KNPR's State of Nevada. 

Gerardi said it takes about 13 hours to print the hand.

The biggest issue has been getting the right size for her.

“That is the main difficulty over the years is just trying to figure out what size, what other changes we have to make so that it is comfortable for her to wear,” she said.

They're working now to make the material that holds her hand to the prosthetic more comfortable and breathable, Gerardi said.

Gerardi says a 3D printed hand is just the beginning. Scientists are working on using a 3D printer to create all kinds of things, including human tissue.

“It’s going to be very futuristic tip of things that we think of now that the 3D printer will be able to make," she said. 



Maria Gerardi, graduate student, UNLV College of Engineering

Stay Connected
Kristy Totten is a producer at KNPR's State of Nevada. Previously she was a staff writer at Las Vegas Weekly, and has covered technology, education and economic development for the Las Vegas Review-Journal. She's a graduate of the Missouri School of Journalism.