Students print prosthetic hand for Everett girl

An Everett girl who was born with a misshapen left hand now has a prosthetic she can use to lift a glass, hold her dog and even go up a climbing wall.

“It’s just amazing,” said Reese Armstrong.

The hand was designed by Michael Meier and Adham Baioumy, both mechanical engineering students in University of Washington Bothell’s 2019 graduating class. The prosthetic was then manufactured on campus using a 3D printer in the university’s MakerSpace.

Ten-year-old Reese picked the color purple.

Reese’s father, Brian Armstrong, asked the university for assistance and when the call for help was shared with students, Meier and Baioumy jumped at the opportunity.

Their work was guided by Cassandra Wright, assistant professor in the School of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics. In addition to helping Reese, she said, it was a powerful opportunity for the undergraduates to learn by working through real-life problems. As part of the project, the students used open source software from Atomic Lab.

The original challenge they faced, said Meier, was figuring out how to print a prosthetic that was as strong and cheap as possible.

Many other issues also came along that they didn’t expect, said Baioumy, but successfully completing the project “was personal.”

Committed to creating a functioning hand for Reese, the two students put in extra time and effort and in the end were able to make something that actually works for the young girl.

“To see it in action was pretty magical,” said Meier.

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