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MANSFIELD -- It looks like the hand of the Transformer Optimus Prime. But the colorful, plastic prosthetic hand is fit specifically for 38-year-old Jayme Sims, who lost four fingers in a wood chipper in January.

'I can't grab a bag. I ride a motorcycle and I can use this when I ride,' Sims said. 'There are so many things in life that we take for granted that I haven't been able to do that now I think I can.'

What's amazing about the hand is it was made by three high school engineering design students at Mansfield's Ben Barber Career and Technology Academy. It was part of a class project.

They found Jayme and the schematics for the mechanical hand through a website called E-nable. The students perfected the design over the past few months, and manufactured the plastic pieces on the classroom 3D printer.

The printer was the most expensive part of the project - each one costs a couple thousand dollars.

'A regular prosthetic is thousands of dollars,' says Nke Ebolun, a junior. 'The final [prosthetic we made] was under $50.'

'If I broke a finger,' Jayme said, 'they can just print me off another one for a few dollars, and send it in the mail!'

The mechanical hand does not have the deftness of modern-day prosthetics. But it can help an amputee grasp objects, write, and perform other daily tasks.

'When I first started this project, I didn't expect to help a person,' said senior Jeremiah Sims. 'But seeing us - as a group - we can actually help people, it feels really good.'

Jayme lives outside Houston and traveled to Mansfield to receive the hand. He said he is very proud to thank the young men who have given him a helping hand.

E-mail jstjames@wfaa.com

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