Everyone should have the opportunity to make music. This is a skill that not only offers the same happiness we feel in listening, but also challenges and stimulates the brain. The violin is known to be one of the more challenging instruments to play, and children are often started off at an early age. They receive not only an intellectual workout, but also a physical one as their upper body strength is put to the test (especially at first) as they hold the violin on the shoulder and then use the other hand and arm to manipulate the bow. Anyone learning to play will probably find that both their memory and focus become sharper.
Discipline, fortitude, and will are all required in learning to master such an instrument. Obviously, Isabella Nicola Cabrera, age ten, has all these traits—along with the students from George Mason University who decided to make her a 3D printed prosthetic so she could play her violin. George Mason, located in Fairfax, VA, boasts a progressive bioengineering department. There, they use tools meant to bring together the worlds of both biology and medicine, with Cabrera’s prosthetic serving as a prime example of what engineering can do in creating a medical device.
Five bioengineering students worked on the project for Cabrera, who was born with her left arm incomplete. The goal was to help her gain better control of the bow—and they got creative with materials and colors, 3D printing the prosthetic in pink.
“I’m very, very grateful,” says Cabrera. “Without these people, I don’t think I could be able to play my violin. I don’t think I could be able to play any instrument.”
The students worked with her for a year in creating and then refining the prosthetic. The team reported that Cabrera was great to work with because she was so quick to offer feedback. They made adjustments after the first model to offer greater comfort and more control for the young—and obviously quite talented—violinist. The prosthetic has four parts: the forearm, upper arm, bow holder, and metal rod. The bow holder is crucial in that it allows for 360-degree rotation, and stability.
In using the second iteration, with more control, she is better able to press down on the notes, and she states that indeed she does love the color too. Cabrera indicates that she may have interest in learning to play other instruments in the future. She has been working with violin teacher Elizabeth Adams from George Mason. Cabrera had not only support from the bioengineering students, and her teacher, but also her mother who remarks on how much she has been able to accomplish, with a great support system encouraging her along the way.
“I’ve always had perseverance in myself,” says Cabrera. “Giving up has just never been a thought in my mind.”
Discuss in the Violinist forum at 3DPB.com.[Source: WTOP; Images: AP/Steve Helber]
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Stay up-to-date on all the latest news from the 3D printing industry and recieve information and offers from thrid party vendors.
You May Also Like
NASA Funds 3D Printing Research in 2022 SBIR/STTR Awards
Out of 333 proposals that NASA is funding as part of its 2022 Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program, 24 are either creating new...
House 3D Printing, Bacterial Materials, and More Awarded by 3D Pioneers Challenge
The 3D Pioneers Challenge awards the best and most innovative breakthrough projects in 3D printing. This year, the jury selected projects from around the world across several categories, including medtech,...
200 3D Printed Houses Planned by Alquist 3D and Black Buffalo
Alquist 3D is a Virginia-based additive construction (AC) company, specializing in printing affordable, cement-based residential homes. Earlier this year, we covered a story about Alquist printing the first owner-occupied residential...
World’s Largest Concrete 3D Printing Facility Opened by GE Renewable Energy
The more that the renewable energy and additive manufacturing (AM) sectors evolve, the clearer it becomes how much the two industries have to offer one another. So far, this has...