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Local students ‘print’ new hand for little girl in Canada

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – These days, with everyone so attuned to technology, it’s hard to ignore a story about good, old-fashioned academics.

At Cardinal Ritter High School in Indianapolis, they found a way to blend both.

“You’re always trying to think of what’s the next thing I could do? How can I improve this? What’s another project I can do,” Engineering instructor Carita Girman said.

A local company, 3D Parts Manufacturing, provided 3D printers for Girman’s class. Then, she found a program called Enabling the Future to find a mission for her class.

Enabling the Future is an organization of engineers and designers that use this kind of technology to make hands for people who don’t have them.

“We got an email that said: Congratulations, you’ve been matched with a little girl in Canada,” Girman told 24-Hour News 8 late last year.

The little girl is a 6-year-old named Chelsea. She was born without fingers on her left hand. The class used its 3D printer and a free program called Cyborg Beast to “print” a new hand for Chelsea. They made it in her favorite colors – pink and purple.

The size of the pieces presented challenges, at times. Student Zach Leiter said that was a lesson that “we can’t always rely on [technology] completely. So, you have to use the brain, too.”

Kim Brand of 3D Parts Manufacturing says that’s an important part of engineering training, to adapt to challenges. He also said, with technology such as this, students are learning to do more than ask what technology can do for them. They are asking what can they do with it.

Little Chelsea in Toronto will soon find one example of what they can do – when a box from Indianapolis, from Ritter High School, reaches her home.