St. Mary’s is a hospital for children in the Western Long Island in New York at the coast of Little Neck Bay. It a healing, comforting and rehabilitation place for children with complex and often chronic conditions that come in way of their quality of life. As the hospital’s website conveys their goal is to “help kids be kids” trying to achieve it with a combination of exercise-related activities plus therapy and treatment. A local high school which is using3Dprinting helped the kids to develop some essential skills enabling them to gain some independence.
New York’s Lynbrook High School’s Advanced Design and Innovation Class is studying 3D printing as a subject. And as a part of their learning process they’ve decided to use 3D printing in the most amazing way ever that technology can ever be used. To help the children at St. Mary’s using 3D printing to design adaptive and assistive devices for them. For instance, Mary 17, has a medical case where she has a restricted wrist movement, limiting her to use her hands for things she can do. The Lynbrrok high school designed a 3Drinted stylus, with which she can now use i-pad to lean and play games. Stylus was a easy design to be 3Dprinted, but the students had to also figure out a perfect design for Mary. They added a triangular piece which fitted in her palms and easily coil her fingers around it.
“We printed out many prototypes to figure out sizes and dimensions, and so it’s been a long process,” said Lynbrook senior Aleksandra Ratkiewicz. “I love designing, but to know that I can put it in real life practice and change someone’s life on a daily basis is incredible.” Children on their own came up with ways to use the device that the designer himself hadn’t thought of. In another case young girl was presented with a toy in order to develop her cognitive skills helping her to understand the cause and effect. The toy consisted of 3 blocks that can be raised and lowered by pressing on them alternately. Mary decided to do it with her chin instead of her hands improving her cognitive skills and o-ordination.
Paul Rotstein is a technology education teacher. He is all pleased by the way the project has gone and how the students are helping kids to improve their skills. The designs have given the kids the independence and liberty to use i-pads or other devices without any assistance. Also sometimes these designs help the kids to distract themselves while they are undergoing difficult treatments.
“To stimulate them mentally with a puzzle, I felt like it was tagging on two fronts,” says student Michael K. Deegan, who created a 3D printed puzzle for the kids to work on while stuck in treatment. “It’s such a joy, and it’s such a pleasure to see them be able to apply something I’ve designed into their lives.”
Such projects open new dimensions for use of new technology to aid and ease lives of many. Also it engages students in 3D printing taking it as a career option further in life. Although it 3Dprinting would just be a subject in the classroom it further helps students to use it in real-time life applications. That shows hoe impactful differences 3D printing can make in people’s life to the ones they are helpin and also one’s they may help in future.