Three young children from Western New York were given 3D printed prosthetic hands Tuesday, the end result of a summer program devised by WNY STEM and AT&T.
Katelyn McCarthy, a nine-year-old from Derby, was born without part of her right arm. She couldn't stop smiling when she put on her new prosthetic arm.
"Well I can't do the monkey bars and I probably will get to do them," she said, explaining what she's excited to try with her new hand. She also wants to practice tying her shoes with the help of the prosthetic.
Sean Muldoon's five-year-old son Caeden also got a new prosthetic arm Tuesday.
"For us too, it's about giving him the options to realize there are these that he can use in the future for riding a bike, for playing games, for playing catch," explained Muldoon. He was touched by the effort of the students, so willing to help his son without having met the boy when the project started.
"Hand in Hand Powered by AT&T" brought together 30 middle and high school students from around the area to design and create four functional prosthetic hands.
"We look to the young people in STEM education as a way to bridge young people and get them introduced to STEM at a young age," Kevin Hanna, director of external affairs for AT&T, explained. "To get them interested in it because that's the future. We live in a digital economy."
The program introduced students to different software and design programs. They also learned about 3D printing and other state-of-the-art technologies. But as WNY STEM's executive director explains, the hands-on training teaches the students an awful lot, too.
"There were some obstacle to overcome," said Cherie Messore. "There were some technical difficulties that the kids had to work through. But that's part of the stem experience too. Learning how to be a problem solver. Learning how to be a creative thinker."