When does a school science project become especially worthy of attention? When it actually makes an impact outside the school. At West Leyden High School, just outside Chicago, some students are part of a science program called e-NABLE that teaches students how to use engineering software and 3D printers to create prosthetics.
Since the program started in 2013, Leyden students have made about 75 prosthetic hands for kids in the U.S. and in countries like Syria and India. Prosthetic limbs usually cost anywhere from $3,000 to tens of thousands of dollars, while those provided through the program are free.
For the students, the project goes beyond learning to use software to create prosthetics—it also involves connecting with recipients of the prosthetics. For instance, Leyden students have been video-chatting with a boy in Syria who’d lost his hand due to war-related violence and have watched him test out his new 3D-printed version. The project goes to show what can happen when education meets purpose.