- Associated Press - Monday, April 3, 2017

TYLER, Texas (AP) - Instead of spending time relaxing and socializing with friends during lunch on a recent Tuesday afternoon, four students at All Saints Episcopal School were hard at work creating a 3-D prosthetic limb.

The Tyler Morning Telegraph (https://bit.ly/2o9e3HA ) reports Jordan Smith, Liza Naydanova, Kevin Scott and Hampton Short are part of a group of high school students making a prosthetic arm and hand in partnership with the Center for Affordable Prosthetics that will eventually be used by Osman, a 22-year-old man who lives in Honduras.

The Tyler-based nonprofit is dedicated to outreach and education to teach students, professionals and people in the medical industry how to set up their city to produce low cost 3-D-printed prosthetics. When the Center for Affordable Prosthetics reached out to Mike Cobb, head of school at All Saints, he was quick to ask Jonathan Markell if any of his students would be interested in the project.

Markell, who teaches physics and programming and engineering, said the response from students has been great since they started the project in January.

“When we all found out what it was for and who it was for, it gave a deeper meaning to the project and made us want to do it more,” Smith said.

The students first made a prototype to see how everything pieced together and would work. Smith and Naydanova said they learned a lot from creating the prototype, such as which kind of wire works best to create a strong grip with the hand and whether plastic or metal bolts are best.

They are now working on the actual prosthetic that will be sent to Osman, which they hope to complete in a few weeks. While the group has created other 3-D-printed objects, this will be the first prosthetic they’ve made, and they hope to create more to donate to those in need in the future.

“We’ve been taking more of a usability approach over how easy it is to make,” Scott said. “We want it to be something he can use rather than something that we get to him” in a rush.

“We are working on this strictly extracurricular - just whenever we get a chance, so whenever we have a study hall and we’re not doing anything or after school, before school and during lunch,” Smith said.

For Markell, the students’ dedication to the project is what he has enjoyed seeing: “There’s no grade attached to it or you get service hours or anything like that - they just want to do it, and that’s awesome.”

It’s also been a chance for the students to grow their strengths and gain valuable skills for their future careers, as many of them are planning to pursue science and medical fields in college.

“Everyone has injury and has hardships in their lives, but to make life easier for somebody and be able to do something great just makes our group feel good,” Smith said.


Information from: Tyler Morning Telegraph, https://www.tylerpaper.com

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