If ever there was an argument made for getting more 3-D printers into schools, this might be it.
MyFoxPhilly recently did a report on 9-year-old Kylie Wicker of Rockland, Illinois, who was born without fingers on her left hand. Costly prosthetics would have set her family back $50,000. After researching 3-D printing on the Internet, Kylie’s father sought the help of their local high school.
Boylan Catholic High School’s engineering graphics class fashioned a set of 3-D digits complete with a cable system that allows the plastic parts to grasp naturally. The entire project — including the plastic and fasteners — cost approximately $5, MyFoxPhilly reported.
As inexpensive 3-D printers continue to enter school systems, the possibilities seem endless for teen innovators and inventors. Earlier this year, students in Leander, Texas, custom made a 3-D printed hand for a student’s 2-year-old brother, and, in Kansas City, 16-year-old Mason Wilde made a “robo-hand” for a family friend’s son using his school library’s 3-D printer.
Easton LaChappelle, 18, got to show off the 3-D printed prosthetics that he developed to President Obama during last year’s White House Science Fair. Now, he works on telerobotics control with NASA’s Robonaut team.
As for Kylie, she’s just excited to experience a whole new world of possibilities, “I can finally ride my bike,” she told MyFoxPhilly.