Having kids design a prosthetic hand for a classmate has become a meaningful way for students to help one of their peers and apply their knowledge of math, technology, and engineering to a special need in their midst.
Eighth graders at Kenilworth Science and Technology School gave Jakyra Brown a robotic hand they designed in their robotics club. Sixth grader Jakyra is always excited by robots, and wants to be an engineer when she grows up.
School has not always been easy for Jakyra, who was born without a right hand. “It’s been really, really rough on her,” said her mom, Jonique. “She dealt with a lot of bullying, to where she didn’t want to go to school.”
Jonique found that the cost of a prosthetic hand would cost over $10,000. Elkhan Akhundov, the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math coordinator, decided to see if the robotics club could help. “We already had a 3D printer. I thought, ‘Why not give it a try?'”
After finding a special program for design of a prosthesis on the internet, the club got to work, taking precise measurements of Jakyra’s left and right arms, and her left hand. Then they set to work, and used their 3D printer to print each piece. They then assembled the hand, and helped her put it in place. With the bend of her elbow, Jakyra’s new fingers slowly formed a fist.
Jakyra is overjoyed with the prosthesis, which the class is still improving. They have resolved to help others with similar needs in the area.