Students Print Prosthetic Devices for Area Children

All over the world, there are children with missing hands and arms, a large number of which live in third-world countries and war zones. Impoverished, most have no access to artificial limbs.

Even here in the United States, many struggle to function without an assistive device. Simply put, they’re expensive and insurance companies oftentimes will not pay for them because children outgrow them so fast.

Now with the help of 3-D printers, students at ECPI University’s Richmond/Innsbrook campus are joining a global movement to change that, making assistive devices affordable and donating them to children who desperately need them – in Richmond and throughout the world. Recently, the campus formed a chapter linked to a global network of volunteers called Enabling the Future.

Lead by Dr. Negar Ghochaghi, a member of ECPI University’s Electronics Engineering Technology faculty, the chapter has just completed its first two assistive devices. “I thought this would be an exciting and ideal opportunity for our students,” says Dr. Ghochaghi. “It gives them a chance to practice what they are learning in class, but the real reward will be seeing the grateful faces of the children who receive what they’ve created.”

They got that opportunity on June 30 when the recipients visited ECPI University’s Richmond/Innsbrook campus to pick up their new assistive devices. One of the children – Lydia – has managed fairly well without one, but her family says she is thrilled to receive this helping hand. “ECPI University has told us that if we have any problems, if it were to break, or even if she wants one in a different color, they would print us another one,” says her father.

Students like Joseph Andarz are only too happy to oblige. “To give a…

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