On Monday, Dec. 2, Paul McCarthy ’88 and his son Leon were featured on ABC’s “Katie: Talk that Matters” hosted by veteran news woman Katie Couric. McCarthy created a prosthetic hand for his son using a 3-D printer; they appeared on a segment of the show that discussed the pros and cons of the new technology.
The segment is available on the show’s website.
Due to restricted blood flow in utero, Leon’s left hand never fully developed and it does not have fingers. Prosthetic hands cost $20,000 to $30,000, so his father took to the Internet to search for an inexpensive yet functional prosthetic hand. He discovered a video with detailed instructions for creating a prosthetic device, with fingers that can open and close, using a 3-D printer. The designs for the hand were posted online free of charge.
After purchasing the printer and following directions, McCarthy was able to give his son something Leon calls, “Pretty awesome.” He can pick up objects and write using the prosthesis and the low cost to make it means father and son can experiment with new designs at will.
McCarthy earned a B.A. in English from Hobart College and was a member of the swimming team as a student. He is president of MacHammer, Inc., a management consulting services firm. He lives in Marblehead, Mass., with wife Tammy and sons Leon and Magnus. He and Leon also were recently featured on CBS Evening News.