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Lakota East students' senior project: Build a prosthetic hand for 4-year-old girl

Posted at 4:30 AM, Oct 11, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-11 07:00:13-04

LIBERTY TOWNSHIP, Ohio -- According to her parents, 4-year-old Hansika Hamre is a very active little girl. 

"She climbs ladders and she plays and she bounces balls," Hansika's mom, Cara Hamre, said.

Hansika was born with symbrachydactyly, a condition that causes babies to be born with shorter digits or missing fingers and toes. Her left hand is full developed; her right is not. Usually, her mother said, it's not an issue.

"She adapts very well," Hamre said. "You wouldn't know that she was missing her ten fingers."

However, she added that some activities -- zipping up a zipper, for example -- present a real challenge. 

That's why a group of Lakota East seniors is working to build her a prosthetic hand that will, hopefully, make daily tasks like that one easier.

"We got to meet her and it was really sweet, just kind of tugged at your heart strings a little bit," Lakota East senior Cali Hoffman said. "(We were like) we have to deliver, you know…you don't want to disappoint her."

The students took a field trip to Kinetic Vision, where engineers used a 3D scanner to capture geometric data of Hansika's hands. 

"We'll be able to leverage these data sets to scale (and) change geometry," Kinetic Vision lead imaging specialist Alex Doukas said. "If we need to do any sort of changes, this will all be manipulatable data."

Butler Tech and Lakota East engineering instructor Ken Kinch said he wants to send his students into college with applicable engineering skills, and working to help Hansika will get them just that. Their capstone project will include taking the scans, finding materials and finding a way to 3D print the prosthetic,

"The scan here was so, so big for us because now we can model something and actually overlay it over top of that 3D scan to make sure the fit's right," Kinch said.

The group will work on Haniska's prosthetic, which they hope will be able to grow alongside its user, throughout the school year.