Tuesday, February 18, 2020
US flag

Leyden HS students 3D-print prosthetic hands for kids

Students at a Chicago-area high school are “3D-printing” prosthetic hands for kids and, in the process, having a positive effect on many people’s lives, including their own.

Students Leslie Arciniega, Uriel Martinez, and Michael Valdez at East Leyden High School in Franklin Park, Ill., tell us how students in an introductory engineering class make prosthetic hands for children with the help of a 3D printer.

Ordinarily, the students write, prosthetic hands cost more than $1,000. And kids outgrow them quickly. But “with the help of the organization E-nable, we make a difference in other people’s lives by 3D-printing the hands, depending on their individual needs, and customly painting to what they desire.”

The painting is optional, and there’s a bit of math involved with the engineering. Students have to take measurements from photos, which is the equivalent of applying a dilation or contraction in geometry.

But once they’ve got the measurements, they “alter the general model of the prosthetic hand to customize it to the individual and then begin to 3D-print the hand.” Final assembly, which includes threading the artificial tendons so the recipient can move his or her fingers, doesn’t take long but requires some careful, precise handiwork.

The finished prosthetic hands have a positive effect on the recipients’ lives. “You then realize that you are changing someone’s life positively. I know for a fact that this has made a difference in my life, knowing that I have helped someone out and hopefully made their lives a little better,” the students wrote.

[Editor’s note: In May 2014, we reported on a group of biomedical students at Washington University in St Louis, who used a 3D printer to make a prosthetic arm for a 13-year-old girl, painting it pink at her request. And in December 2013, we reported on a high school robotics team building a prosthetic hand for a 4-year-old girl in Michigan. She had outgrown her original prosthetic.]
Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

Recent posts

Most detailed images ever of the sun

A new telescope at the National Solar Observatory snapped the most detailed pictures of the sun's surface we have ever seen.

Feds boost Bay funding

Restoration efforts in the Chesapeake Bay watershed received a boost in federal funding in the budget Congress passed last month.

Md. & IL bands perform on New Year’s in...

Bands from IL and Md. once again entertained thousands of people who lined the streets of London and Rome on New Year's Day.

Howard Co. sounds an under-staffing alarm

Teachers in a Md. district have filed a grievance over missing planning and lunch periods and, as a result, putting the most vulnerable students at risk.

Top 11 school stories of 2019

We find these 11 stories to have the greatest potential for influencing activity and direction in schools for the near future.

Girls’ volleyball champs in Illinois

We congratulate the Illinois state champions in girls' volleyball: Newark, St Teresa, Sterling, & Benet Academy.

A weekend of ‘band geeks’ across America

The musical Band Geeks was in performance at a MD high school, just as marching bands from across America named a national champion.

2 dead, 3 wounded in Calif. school shooting

Another school shooting has resulted in the death of 2 California high school students. The suspect shot himself and is in custody.

Mercury makes a transit; next in 2032

A transit of Mercury occurred today and was visible from the US, provided you had sunny skies. It was one of longest possible transits.

On the Naperville BWW racist incident

A racist incident at a Naperville, IL, sports bar indicates that the threads of racism are strong, perhaps as strong as ever.

IL bill could excuse absences to vote

A proposed law in IL could give students up to two hours during the school day so they could vote in the upcoming election.