The robotics team at West Catholic High School in Grand Rapids, Mich., created a replacement prosthetic hand for a 4-year-old girl who outgrew her original prosthetic hand, WOOD-TV reports (photos here).
The girl’s preschool teacher found someone with a 3D printer to create an image of her hand to help the team craft the robotic prosthetic. They had to make sure the new hand would fit, in other words. Then the high school students went to work, building a robo-hand made of plastic and elastic cables. The new hand reflects the girl’s wrist movements and is capable of bending, picking up things, and even catching a ball.
But what the 4-year-old wanted to do first was paint her nails, which would not have been possible if the high school students had not devoted their time, talent, and good effort to build the hand. It was necessary to build one, the girl’s mother said, because the original device, which cost $5,000, was too small after the girl had grown, and their insurance wouldn’t pay for a new prosthetic device.
“It’s a really great opportunity, and we get to help people,” 24-hour News 8 quoted Aimee Kalczuk, a student on the robotics team, as saying. “And she really needs a hand to help her function more like the rest of us because most things are built for people with two hands. We really appreciated just the opportunity to be able to do this and to be able to help somebody.”