Durham Tech students have joined Helping Hands, a Chapel Hill based non-profit, in creating and donating prosthetic hands to children born with limb development issues.
Anatomy and Physiology Instructor at Durham Tech, Steven Leadon, says he thought becoming involved was a great opportunity for his students when the founder of The Helping Hand Project came to Durham Tech in January to recruit students.
“We felt that this was something that would benefit our students, learning how to use a 3-D printer, and would be a cause that would be very worthy, so it seemed to be a win-win in terms of getting our students involved in this,” said Leadon.
Currently 10 students from Durham Tech are apart of Helping Hands, among them respiratory therapy student and President of the Durham Tech Helping Hands chapter, Hannah Brown.
“One of the really cool things about these hands is you can get from a nice, fancy company a well done, surgically fitted robotic hand prosthetic. The thing is they cost thousands of dollars and they just… kids grow too fast. So that’s why we went to 3-D printing, that’s why it’s so great- is each hand costs roughly $30 to make with all the supplies. If people wanted to donate, $30 can give a kid a hand,” Brown said.
The chapter began at Durham tech last spring and received a $2,000 grant from the Durham Tech Foundation last fall to purchase its own 3-D printer.
The students in the chapter aren’t all engineers, but Leadon says that so far the group has brought together students with diverse skill sets.
“One of the things that those students did was to print out a demo hand- just so that we could walk through the process and figure out where we might make mistakes and correct those mistakes, so it was a learning process,” said Leadon.
The chapter is currently working on fundraising and recruiting members although Brown says that giving away a hand is what she’s looking forward to most of all.
“I personally can’t wait until we give a hand to a kid. That’s going to be like by far the biggest step we can make as a group.”
To make a donation, or for more information, visit the project’s website.