Friends Building Oklahoma Man A Mechanical Hand

Tuesday, November 16th 2010, 4:57 pm
By: News On 6

Rick Wells, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- Some of Oklahoma's own are getting together to give a friend a hand, literally.

A group of machinists and tool makers is working together to create a mechanical hand for a friend, and the best part is they're doing it for free.

Bob Roth, a machinist and tool maker, is making is a mechanical hand for his friend Carl Johnson.

"I'm not reinventing the whole world," Roth said. "I'm just creating a mechanism."

"I'll be able to have a bit more graspability," Carl Johnson said.

Carl lost most of his right hand in an industrial accident in 2004. Then was surprised to find there was nothing on the prosthetic market to fit what he needed.

"I was determined to recapture as much of my life as I could," he said.

They told him he had either lost too much of his hand or not enough, so he made his own, out of a partial prosthetic hand and some flexible tubing called lockline. Put a glove on it and it's a pretty serviceable hand.

"I designed this to where you know I can pick up whatever I want to. "I call this my active fingers and my passive fingers," he said.

The bendable fingers made of the flex tubing give his thumb something to oppose, and gives him some function in his right hand. He showed Bob what he had made, but Bob thought he could do better.

"Dude, I can make something mechanical that will work like that," Carl said.

That was the beginning of the design, working fingers that contract when his wrist bends.

"I think he'll be able to hold a fork if he wants to," Bob said.

As wonderful as that is, there may be something better: a few other tool makers are each going to donate their time and talent to create a piece of the project, the satisfaction of making something that's never been made, helping Carl recapture more of what he's lost.

They figure it will be six to eight weeks of machining and testing. Carl Johnson hopes to have his new hand by early February.