The Walker School student Anderson Carey stumbled across a magazine article about mechanical prosthetics created using 3D printers and knew it was something he wanted to explore.
He approached his then-sixth-grade science teacher, Dr. Holly Martin, to see if it was something they could do. The timing was perfect since Martin had just heard about Enabling the Future, a global organization that allows volunteers to help create prosthetic limbs for people who upload their stories on the website.
“I thought it was an amazing coincidence,” she said of Anderson’s interest.
Together, they perused the site and began work in February and March of this year to help a Romanian man who lost a leg, hand and forearm to a bacterial infection.
Anderson, 12, and his teacher used a 3D printer to create a mechanical prosthetic arm for Cornel Crismaru, who relies on a scooter to get around. According to his story uploaded on the site, Crismaru said the prosthetic arm “would give me independence to transfer myself, cook, eat and many other tasks – maybe even draw or paint again.”
“It’s nice knowing that I helped someone in need,” Anderson said.
The student and his teacher ran into some minor hiccups when they started the project. One of the pieces for Crismaru’s arm exceeded the size of the printer, so they reached out to a Walker School family who owns a 3D printing company in Woodstock. With the help of that family, Anderson and Martin spent about three months designing, constructing and 3D printing Crismaru’s arm.
Karen Park, a spokeswoman with The Walker School, said the prosthetic was shipped to Crismaru in May and in August, the teacher and student received a note from the man’s son thanking them for their help. He also sent a photo of his father wearing the prosthetic.
“This is enabling him to ride his scooter better, and he’s hoping to accomplish things he used to enjoy,” the teacher said.
Anderson and Martin said they are also exploring the possibility of creating a 3D-printed robotic finger for someone. The teacher said she hopes children as well as adults reading this story will understand that while it’s hard to change the world, they can start with small acts that will help a person in a “huge way.” She also said she hopes Crismaru is touched by the kindness showed to him by two people on the other side of the world.
“I hope it warmed his heart,” she said.
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