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Lara Project

Follow Lara as she continues to blog about her new hand

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Lara Project

6th June 2015

Today was our School summer Fair. It was held outside and Techielab was doing a stand which we called THE HAND STAND!  We had t-shirts with a picture of me and Mark from the yoga school doing our back to back hand stand.  David had a 3D printer which was making  key rings because it takes too long to make a hand - and I had to leave my hand there so that people could examine it.  Most people have never seen a 3D printer and they were amazed about how it works and what it does.   I had a look round so didn't spend all day at the stand.  There were too many great things to do to spend all day on my hand stand! 


3rd June 2015

Today I had a rounders match against another school.  It helps me aim the ball better - I was bowler.  I can't catch very well yet but I'll practice that.  It'll be good for catching because I won't hurt my fingers!  :) But - BUT - before the game had even started I noticed that the wire in my ring finger had snapped so my finger couldn't go down any more.  Basically I broke my finger - but with less pain and with no need to go to A&E!  We can't fix this at home because we have no wire or crimps to secure a new wire.  This is a lesson - hand owners should have spare parts!! (Thank goodness it wasn't my middle finger!).  Children from the other school were noticing my hand but no-one came to ask.  I'm getting so used to it that I forget that most people haven't seen one.   My dad has stickers on his guitar case to say where it's travelled to - I think I need stickers on my hand to show where it's been.  In the seven days I've owned it - I've been to London and tomorrow I'm going to France (and it's been to school - :) :(   On a design point - most of the time it's good but I would  like to be able to take it off more easily for things it gets in the way of like when I want to do handstands at break....

2nd June 2015


Today I went to London on a school trip. Lots of people stopped to stare at my hand. It made me feel important because I know I am one of the only people in the country to have a mechanical hand.    I don't mind them staring but sometimes I wish they would ask.  My mum says I should offer the information but sometimes that's hard to do to strangers.  I am going to write into First News to enter their competition and I'm going to write about the Lara Project and what we are doing.  It can only have 300 words but I have so much to say that I don't know how I will ever fit it all in!! :( :( .  I also learned something new  that's good about my new hand - which is something  funny that happened to me last week: when I went into a shop and pick up a nectarine the shopkeeper was so amazed he gave it to me for  FREE !!:):) :) :). Then I went into the butchers and picked up some sweets and he was so amazed that he gave me the sweets for FREE too.:) :) :) :).  So a new hand means free stuff - but not many people can try this!  My friends are really interested about how it works and how I use it. Everyone is asking me to shake hands but I don't think they've worked out that my new hand is my left hand and so I don't use it for shaking hands!! I've been thinking of ways to improve on the design but I'll write about that another time.  :) :) :)

31st May 2015

Yesterday (3oth) we went back to re-record some of the video for their website.  We also spent a bit of time choosing which colour I want my next hand to be made in.  A new purple has arrived and it's my new favourite - together with glow-in-the dark and fluorescent pink.  Two months ago this was all just an idea and now I'm picking colours for a second hand....!  Alex (Dani's son) was really funny telling us how he'd learnt lots of new rude words from Dani and David when the printers mess up half way through a print!  They have a whole pile of bits that haven't printed properly - so I guess the type of printer you use is pretty important to how successful the hands are.  The different colours also come out differently - the dark grey comes out really well and the copper coloured hand is really heavy and doesn't look like copper at all, but looks like it's been made out of clay.  They have a special paint that can make the finished hand shiny as well - which is really cool.  :) :)

30th May 2015

I've remembered some stuff I wanted to write about last week but didn't get a chance.  Firstly - I tried lots of new things with my hand and I can now pick up a tennis ball with my new hand and throw it up in the air to serve.  This is much easier than holding the ball how I used to.  I even managed to do a really good shot right at my mum!  We were at a friends house and so I could try riding a bike and this is so far the best improvement that my hand has made to my achievements.  I have a bike riding strap that I've used before but it makes me sit crooked on the bike so after a long bike ride I get a really sore shoulder.  Anyway, with my new hand I can hold on better, steer better, balance better, go faster, and sit up with my shoulders even - it makes it way comfier on my right hand as well as I'm not doing all the holding on with one arm.    I also found it useful for making scrambled eggs (and could hold the pan and the spoon at the same time!  Mega good.  I can't hold a cup but I don't mind about that so much.  Here's a clip of my


28th May 2015

Today I went to see Danis' yoga teacher - who is called Mark.  He wanted to meet me because he's teaching a one-handed lady to be a yoga teacher and wanted to see how I do handstands.  David also wanted to take some photos for Techielab and their website and for Instagram.  Mark taught me lots of different kinds of handstands and my favourite one was the Zombie Handstand - which is when you lie down flat on the floor, pull your chest up into your hands and then lift up into a handstand.  This was impossible for me but when Mark did it, it looked a doddle.  After this - Dani and David wanted me to record some film for their website - and to inform people what the Lara Project is all about and to get people to contribute to Techielab so that they can keep on developing new ideas and ways to make better hands.  They have some really good ideas - aiming for bionic!  I had to say my name, age and lots of stuff about my hand and the project.  It was fun and boring because some scenes we had to do over and over again but at the same time it was quite fun doing them.  Dani also showed some different types of Velcro to make new straps with because my strap rubs a bit and I have to wear some bandage inside my hand at the moment.  :) :) :)

26th May 2015

OneSunday ended up happening on Monday - which was yesterday! Dani  has changed her whole house around just to fit in the hand workshop. Anyway we went there yesterday to get my hand back.  Dani had to re-string it so that the fingers start off not so open - which will mean I can close the hand much more.   I adjusted the hand myself, but with some help. We tightened the strings by turning little screws on the back of the hand.  When we put the elastic back in we used jewellery making crimps to  hold it in place because tying the knots was too fiddly and we realised that on the  build a hand day we can't expect one handed people to tie small fiddly knots.   So we used crimps (a great idea and they look better as well) and we tightened the crimps by squeezing them with a pair of pliers.  It was quicker for me to do the screws because I knew how tight I wanted it to be and if it was comfy or not.   I also did a bit of filming for David saying who I was how old I was and all that kind of stuff.   Today the first thing I wanted to do was put my hand on - but it's a bit annoying because the bottom bit of Velcro is rubbing on my arm and it hurts and itches.  My dad put a bit of fake leather inside the Velcro which helps a bit but not enough.  Yesterday when we got home I tried doing lots of things - holding toothpaste (this worked) - picking up my knife (kind of worked).  I held the saucepan to make the scrambled eggs (this worked - but I had to be sure not to melt my fingers!), putting socks on (didn't work), holding a bag (worked) and lots of other small things.  I think I'll try riding a bike later - but that depends on the tyres being all flat.....

22 May 2015


So, today , I had my first day with my first hand at school. :) I was surrounded by people as soon as I had stepped out of the car.  it was like being a celebrity ! It was really comfy and surprisingly light. Before you knew it I was picking up pencil cases and rubbers.  :0 :) I wore it all day, apart from break, as it was really useful.  There's so much to "notice" today -  I realised how much stuff I do one handed, like; opening my desk, picking up my shoes, carrying my pencil case..(etc.).

This morning I woke up early because I was so excited - normally my mum has to wake me up but I couldn't wait to get back to my hand!  Even some parents came over who I've never met before to ask about it because their children have told them about the Lara Project.

Anyway,  Just before lunch I went to room 3 to give my hand back to Danni because it needs tightening up (which we knew yesterday) and she wanted me to show Mrs Benard who is the Head of Science.

 Sadly there were red marks where the screws had been rubbing against my hand but I hadn't felt them. Then after that we went to see Mrs Cashmore, so she came to the door and 1 boy shouted "look she's got a robotic hand", and then the whole class wanted to see it, feel it and play with it. Poor Emily,(my friend) was standing next to me with sweaty boys crowding round her.  It's really annoying that the y6 boys can't see my assembly, because they are in France.

When my dad got home he was really upset  that he couldn't see my hand, but luckily I have  a video of me jumping all around the place shouting "this is my new incredible hand".

 So that is what happened today and I can't wait till Sunday to get my hand back. BRING ON SUNDAY! :0 :)

30th April 2015

So - here it goes - I'll start blogging!  As you may know I am part of a build-a-hand project and as my school are going  to be involved we told them all about it in an assembly.  Well, today was the day of my assembly and I got up to tell everyone about the hand project - the Lara project!  I felt scared and excited but it went really well and I'm glad I practised at home.  Anyway -after school I went to Danni's house to have a meeting and to see how the first hand  is looking.   I saw the hand- it was in lots of small pieces and then David put it together - literally - as we were just chatting!  It worked perfectly although this was not specially made to fit me.  It was amazing to see this happen - David used different types of string and we literally watched him make an entire hand!  It's only 4 weeks since I met Danni and David and today they put a hand together for me!  I was so excited to see a real hand right being built in front of my eyes. I cannot wait until one fits me.   What was really funny was the look on Davids' face when he made the fingers move open and closed for the first time - it was a pure satisfaction face.