Lifestyle & Human Interest

15-Year-Old Student Born with Undeveloped Hand Gets Life-Changing Robotic Surprise from Classmates


The teenage years can be quite the awkward time in a person’s life. And if a person happens to be different in some way from what the average person considers “normal,” it can be twice as difficult, especially when attending school.

Imagine not having the use of the right hand, and trying to use a computer mouse with the left hand, and do many other things without the use of the right hand.

This was exactly the situation in which sophomore Sergio Peralta found himself at Hendersonville High School in Tennessee because of being born with an underdeveloped right hand, according to WTVF.

Engineering teacher Jeff Wilkins just happened to notice Peralta’s situation at the beginning of the fall semester in 2022, took an interest in the student, and asked a few questions.

“In the first days of school, I honestly felt like hiding my hand,” Peralta told CBS News. “Like nobody would ever find out.”

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Then, when people did find out, Peralta was immediately singled out.

At best, some would ask questions about it, and, at worst, others would bully him, according to WTVF.

Despite some of those hostilities, Peralta became went on to become very adaptable and found ways to deal with nearly every situation, according to the BBC.

He learned to write with his left hand, and developed creative ways to carry items with his right arm, such as a water bottle, so his left hand would be free to carry other items or do other things.

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Peralta largely appeared to have things figured out. So then why the questions from Wilkins?

The engineering teacher was gathering information, and a few engineering students, together for a special project.

“He started asking me a couple of questions about like my hand and stuff,” Peralta told WTVF. “Basically from there, he started saying that he was thinking about making me a prosthetic hand. And I was just kind of stunned there, it was crazy… I just live my life normally like this. So I’ve never really thought about getting one because I’ve gotten very used to it.”

Nevertheless, the idea was apparently intriguing to Peralta, and he agreed to it.

A small team of upperclassmen in Wilkins’ Engineering Design and Development class agreed to take on the project.

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The students did a bit of research about prosthetic limbs, created a design, and used a 3D printer to create the prosthetic.

To everyone’ delight, it actually worked!

Peralta’s prosthetic hand “is a testament to the students we have here who care about each other and the program that Jeff Wilkins has built,” Henderson High School principal Bob Cotter told the BBC.

He also stated that Wilkins’ class was intentionally created to take the theoretical “and turn it into reality.”

When Peralta saw the completed prosthetic, he was pretty excited. Who could blame him?

“I actually tested, I grabbed a water bottle. I actually grabbed a little cup with blueberries and I actually started eating them, which is cool.”

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