Saturday, April 4, 2015

College Kids Make Robotic Arms for Children Without Real Ones

News Brief by Catie Donlon 
In the United States itself, there are about 1,500 children who are born with upper limb deformities every year. Through the use of 3-D printers and with the expertise of several nonprofit organizations, these children can receive significant help by means of both mechanical and electronic arms.
The mechanical limbs allow the hand to open and close when the elbow bends. E-Nable is an online organization started by Jon Schull at the Rochester Institute of Technology that connects children with 3-D printers that create these mechanical arms. It also allows for designs for bionic arms to be shared across the Internet. However these mechanical arms do not function for children without elbows. 
 Limbitless Solutions, started by Albert Manero at the University of Central Florida (UCF), is the only organization that currently creates electronic hands and arms. These electronic arms function differently than a normal arm, by using a muscle sensor that causes the hand to open and close when the bicep is flexed. Each arm costs about $350 and requires 30-50 hours to make. College students and graduate students at UCF have already created electronic arms for five children, and are currently in the process of helping three more. These arms are also customizable such that the children can choose different colors and patterns. This huge advance in robotics and science has the ability to make a difference in children's lives around the world!

Sashin, Daphne. "College Kids Make Robotic Arms for Children without Real Ones." CNN. Cable News Network, 12 Mar. 2015. Web. 04 Apr. 2015. .

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