Cal Poly student from Penngrove helps 10-year-old burn victim get the use of his hands back

Lisa Amin Gulezian Image
ByLisa Amin Gulezian KGO logo
Wednesday, June 19, 2019
Cal Poly student from Penngrove helps burn victim gets the use of his hands back
A Cal Poly student from Sonoma County has helped change a 10-year-old burn victim's life. He's given him the gift of his hands again.

PENNGROVE, Calif. (KGO) -- Julian Reynoso, 10, got the use of his hands back. It's all thanks to a group of engineering students from Cal Poly, co-led by Austin Conrad.

Austin said, "To see Julian's face light up the first time he tried on the prosthetic was real cool."

That goal is what drove the 23-year-old to work tirelessly for eight months to build one bionic and one mechanical prosthetic hand.

Reynoso's right hand has three fingers and his left hand is essentially fingerless because of a car fire last year. He lost most of his family in the crash that day.

Austin said, "When you're working with someone like Julian that's been through so much every part of you is thinking, what can we do and how can we do it so we can give him at least some feeling of normalcy."

Before the gloves, he could barely use his hands.

Now with both hands, Reynoso can make a fist, pinch, point, text and even play video games.

Colleen Conrad, Austin's mother, said, "Beyond proud of him. He changed his life and I think Julian changed his as well. It's incredible."

Jay Conrad, Austin's father, joked, "I figured he'd make these prosthetics and this kid would be playing the guitar because he's so devoted and likes to take it to the next level and next level."

The bionic hand is equipped with five motors, a battery pack and gears. Retail value for the set would be roughly $75,000.

The engineering students of Cal Poly made them for $6,000.