High School Students Form Charity to Make, Distribute 3D Printed Prosthetics

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Back in 2014, 3D printer manufacturer BEEVERYCREATIVE set out to bring 3D printing technology to every school in Portugal, and we’ve heard of similar initiatives to get 3D printers into classrooms in the UK, China, and in various states and cities across the US. While I can’t say with any certainty that every school in the world will soon be equipped with a 3D printer, more and more districts are realizing that the technology is an important teaching tool, and that it’s a good idea for kids to learn how to use 3D printers before they grow up, maybe go off to college, and join the workforce. The career center with the Paris School District in Arkansas has a 3D printer, which two high school students will soon be putting to good use.

Joni Inman (L) and Anna Claire Richey [Image: Paris School District]

Joni Inman and Anna Claire Richey go to Paris High School, and in between classes and homework, are hoping to change the lives of people in need through the charity they formed called Give Me Five, thanks to their partnership with a software company, to make and distribute 3D printed prosthetics.

Inman and Richey assemble the prototype hand after the parts were 3D printed

Earlier this summer, Richey’s father attended a Prudential Scholars event in Washington, D.C. and was intrigued when he heard about similar projects.

“This was the top service project in the nation. Only 49 people have been approved to do this,” said Dr. Jason Richey. “The Sprindale School District tried to do something like this and couldn’t. It’s pretty intense, printing and assembling.”

Dr. Richey came back home and told his daughter all about what he’d learned.

Richey said, “When dad went to the event, he heard about the project and talked to someone. When Joni and I heard about it, we got really excited.”

The ambitious students contacted Marcus Smith for help, who teaches robotics at the district’s Career Education center and is a teacher in the Automation Systems Technology department at Arkansas Tech University Ozark Campus, and to get the project started, he let them use his 3D printer.

Richey and Inman recently 3D printed the parts for the prosthetic, and assembled their first prototype hand, which is able to move and grasp objects. Their software company partner is inspecting and approving the prototype, which took 28 hours to print and 7 hours to assemble.

Once the company approves the prototype hand, Richey and Inman will get to work making more; while a medical prosthetic hand can carry costs of about $11,000, the hands that Give Me Five are producing will only cost $75 to build.

Inman and Richey display their finished product

Richey and Inman will use the 3D printer at the district’s Career Center to print parts for prosthetic fingers, hands, and arms, though Dr. Richey said the two will look into getting a 3D printer of their own to use once the project takes off; he said that the goal is eventually produce 10 to 15 prosthetics a year.

Give Me Five will provide the fully functional, 3D printed prosthetics for free to patients in the US, and 45 other countries, who can’t afford expensive ones that are manufactured through conventional means.

Richey said, “We hope that by doing this, we can enable people to reach their full potential.”

Richey and Inman are working on a Mission Statement and a Vision Statement for Give Me Five, and have put together an advisory board, which includes Smith, whom the girls say was “instrumental” in helping them get the project off the ground. They’re also working on a website and raising funds for the charity, as well as researching possible grants.

Until the website is complete, people can contact the charity at richeyenable@gmail.com, which may indicate that the effort will be working with an eNABLE chapter. Discuss in the Give Me Five forum at 3DPB.com.

[Source/Images: Paris Express]

 

 

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