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Cape Town - The blind teen amputee at the centre of an assault trial has been fitted with a pair of “Robohands”.
Flippie Engelbrecht, 19, lost his eyesight and developed epilepsy after he was allegedly assaulted by a farmer when he was 15.
He later lost his hands after falling into a fire pit during an epileptic seizure.
The creator of “Robohands”, Richard van As, completed the prostheses last week and Flippie received them on Friday.
Van As, who makes prosthetic “Robohands” with the aid of a 3D printer, volunteered to make the hands after reading about Flippie’s ordeal in a local newspaper.
The carpenter, who lives in Randburg, Joburg, started designing and building mechanical hands after losing four fingers in an accident in 2011.
A five-year-old boy, who was born with a defective right hand, was the first to get a “Robohand” with five movable digits from Van As and his design partner, Ivan Owen, who lives in the US.
Van As and Owen create hands for people unable to afford prosthetic limbs.
Flippie’s new hands, which cost between R20 000 and R25 000 each, were created in a Hermanus workshop after Van As travelled from Joburg last week.
Before the “Robohands” were created, Flippie’s brother’s arms, similar in length to his, were measured. Sticks were attached to Flippie’s forearms to prepare him for the new limbs.
Earlier this month, Flippie’s father said he was exceptionally happy that his son would now be able to take care of himself.
The farmer and manager accused of assaulting Flippie and his father, Flip Engelbrecht, a farm labourer, appeared briefly in the Ashton Magistrate’s Court on July 31.
Johnny Burger, the owner of Rietvallei Wine Estate, and farm manager Wilhelm “Dozi” Treurnicht face two charges of assault with intent to do grievous bodily harm.
A third man has turned State witness and may receive indemnity from prosecution.
The duo are expected back in the Ashton Magistrate’s Court on August 28.