OLD BROOKVILLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — It seems children are never too young for new technology.
As CBS2’s Andrea Grymes reported, some children on Long Island are using 3D printers to create prosthetic hands for other kids in need.
For months now, teacher Lorraine Campbell has been guiding her third graders at The Green Vale School in Old Brookville through stitching together the fingers of prosthetic hands to be sent around the world to children without fingers.
“The first hand we printed went to India, and it’s helping a child there,” Campbell said.
The bright and eager youngsters are passionate about their handiwork. They are guided by an online tutorial that was created by thousands of volunteers across the country.
Their organization, called Enabling the Future, has already shipped thousands of 3D-printed prosthetic limbs to needy children around the globe. Sofia, 9, is proud to do her part.
“I think it’s really nice,” she said. “It’s for kids who don’t have a part of their hand, so it’s helping them, because we already have our own hand.”
The students also get a close-up look at the 3D printer, marveling at how it weaves the hand mold from spools of plastic fed into the printer.
“It’s like printing a document, except the file is like a blueprint for a hand or parts of a hand,” said Colin Samuel, technology director at the school.
Three-dimensional printers once cost a small fortune, but the school bought one for just several thousand dollars. Completed hands will be carefully checked to be sure they work.
As long as the person receiving the hand can move their wrist or elbow, they can manipulate the fingers to get a firm grip.
Cate, a sixth grader, plans on printing many.
“It’s really expensive to have a prosthetic hand, and kids’ hands will grow and they will need multiple ones,” Cate said. “So if we print them, it’s a lot cheaper.
There is a global community of volunteers called e-NABLE creating prosthetics. You can find them online if you want to lend a hand too.