Teacher and student design prosthetic hands for aspiring musicians

Cassie Stewart and Andrew Mindy love to play music. The problem was the Pine Grove Area middle school students both had prosthetic hands that weren't built to hold drumsticks or a guitar pick. That's where Nick Brown, a freshman at Pine Grove Area High School, comes in.

Brown pitched an idea to his technology education teacher Brad Fessler. He wanted to use the Schuylkill County high school's new 3-D printer to design prosthetic hands for Stewart and Mindy that they could use to play music.

With Fessler's guidance and support, Brown used 3-D modeling software to develop his ideas. He created several prototypes, working with Stewart and Mindy to test them and make modifications. After a year of research and trial and error, Brown created the final product.


Pictured: Students Cassie Stewart and Andrew Mindy try out their new prosthetic hands, 
designed to help them play guitar, trumpet, and drums.

The students were elated.                       

"I knew they enjoyed music and I just wanted to help them," Brown said. "That was when the idea for creating the hands came about. It was trial and error after that to make the perfect calculations so that the hands would fit."

Brown hopes to continue this work and go on to college to study robotic engineering. In the meantime, Fessler and Brown plan to continue to collaborate and expand the success of their project.

"This was a huge learning process for me," Fessler said. "I'd never worked on a project like this one. It's so rewarding to be able to help a student develop an idea this big and see it through, and it was incredible to see the middle school students try on their new prosthetic hands. It justified every minute of hard work, to watch them try on the final product."


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