Long Island students using 3D printer to make prosthetic hands

Kemberly Richardson Image
Wednesday, January 11, 2017
LI students making prosthetic hands
Kemberly Richardson has the story of some Long Island students who are literally lending a hand.

PLAINVIEW, Long Island (WABC) -- A very bright group of students on Long Island is using technology to help change lives.

Call it 'prosthetics with a purpose', using a 3D printer to literally lend someone a hand.

"This is my first experience using a 3D printer," said student Brendan Roberts.

And what a way to start. "When you think about somebody doesn't have a real hand and they're going to get one from us, it would be really cool."

The 8th-graders at H.B. Mattlin Middle School in Plainview, Long Island are part of a movement involving countless other children around the world.

"You put in the strings and the strings will be able to move the fingers," said one student.

The organization Prosthetic Kids Hand Challenge looks for students who have access to 3D printers who can then make and assemble prosthetic hands.

This group has been working hard since right after Thanksgiving.

"Some of the pieces take several hours to print so it can get a little frustrating sometimes," said student Alexa Plotkin.

All of the kids are volunteering, putting in time between classes, at lunch, whenever they can.

The 3D printer is in the art department. Their teacher tells me the 13 and 14 year olds were blown away, couldn't believe this was possible.

"This hand is going to be fully operational, they could not get over the fact that they were going to play a part in creating something for a child that doesn't have a hand," said teacher Melissa Goscinski.

This project has inspired other students here who now realize there are endless possibilities when it comes to 3D printing.

"It's just an amazing moment as a teacher and as a mom to see that they have the ambition to do something that's not for themselves and to stick with it," said Goscinski.

Once it's finished, they'll ship the prosthetic to the foundation, a helping hand from one child to another.