Nova Scotia

Halifax man building 3D hand for woman in Brazil

Jake Boudreau became inspired to help after watching a video by an organization made up of volunteers who build hands with 3D printers.

Jake Boudreau was inspired to help after watching video by group that makes hands with 3D printers

Jake Boudreau became inspired to build 3D hands after watching a video by a group called e-NABLE. (CBC)

A Halifax man is building a a 3D hand for a woman in Brazil he's never met.

Jake Boudreau said he was inspired to build the limb after watching a TED Talks video by e-NABLE, a group of volunteers who build hands using 3D printers for people in need.

"Basically, she lost her hand in a workplace accident," said Boudreau. "And the company that she was working for kind of found a way out of having to cover the cost of that prosthetic device."

Jake Boudreau holds a prototype of a hand he built on his 3D printer. (CBC)

Boudreau had no medical-technology experience or 3D printing know-how before starting his own chapter of e-NABLE called Kindness 3D. He raised money to buy a 3D printer and taught himself how to use it.

"It was always something I was interested in," said Boudreau.

Boudreau, who works for a logistics firm in Halifax, said his company moved a lot of 3D printers and noticed they were becoming smaller.

"The price has changed too. Now you can get a high quality printer for $500, $600, so that opens up the market to really get involved and start using them," said Boudreau.

Boudreau holds a prototype of a 3D hand he printed. (CBC)

After making several prototypes, he recently started printing the hand that will go to Brazil.

Boudreau said he hopes to have the hand in the mail by April 1. He also plans to follow up with the recipient on Skype to see if the hand is working for her. He then plans to build a hand for someone else in need.

"I'm hoping to get some more people and funding available to myself so we can keep this project rolling," said Boudreau.

With files from Colleen Jones