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Students make prosthetic hands with 3D printers

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Image (above) – Ivanhoe Grammar students (L to R) Sophie, Pieter, Eloise, Edward with teacher Steve Brophy (Image – Dean Phipps)

Melbourne Year 7 students are using 3D printers to create prosthetic hands that may be used by children who were born without limbs or have lost them.

Ivanhoe Grammar School’s Digital Technologies students are working with the e-NABLE community, whose volunteers design and print hands and arms donated to those in need. The 3D-printed limbs are made with thermoplastics and manually assembled, costing just $50 each.

Ivanhoe Grammar School’s Director of ICT and eLearning, Steve Brophy, says his students produced prosthetic hands based on simple e-NABLE community designs, before scaling and modelling one on their own. They now hope to produce a hand for a real user.

Brophy says the engaging project combines education with helping others. While working on problem solving, scale, design and 3D printing, students are also learning about empathy.

“This project has shown students how they can use technological innovation to improve the lives of people around the world at minimal cost,” said Brophy.

US prop maker Ivan Owen started e-NABLE in 2011 after being inspired by an early 1800s hand that Australian dentist Robert Norman designed using whale bone, cables and pullies.

The Ivanhoe Grammar School students’ work will be displayed at next month’s TeachTechPlay conference. Run by Brophy with Melbourne teachers Eleni Kyritsis and Corey Aylen, TeachTechPlay is an independent professional teaching community that hosts online discussion, a monthly web show and an annual conference.

This year’s conference topics include coding, children’s entrepreneurship, 3D modelling, building empathy, using Minecraft in teaching, robotics and carbon-free classrooms. Source

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