Just off the shores of Little Neck Bay is the St. Mary’s Hospital for Children and in this place of comfort, healing and rehabilitation for children with complex and chronic conditions children can find a safe haven when it comes to dealing with the disability. According to the hospital, the aim is to provide children the materials for them to act and be kids. The process of adding recreational activities and therapy treatment can surely boost the chances of achieving the goal.
In light of recent events, the hospital received some help from their local high school with the aid of 3D printing to help those children develop skills and the sense of independence.
Lynbrook High School
The advanced design and innovation class is studying 3D printers and part of the lesson is to use the device in garnering assistive and adaptive instruments for children. For instance, Mary, a 17-year old who has limitations when moving her wrists resulting in difficulty in using her hands have managed to overcome the disability with a 3D printed stylus that was designed by the students so that Mary can now use an iPad to learn and enjoy games. While designing a stylus might be easy for some veterans in the 3D printing community, this is no easy task for students who don’t have experience in designing materials. The students had to figure out how the stylus can be secured in the girl’s hand and in doing that, the students were able to create a triangular material in which it can fit into her palm.
Aleksandra Ratkiewics, a Lynbrook senior, said that the group printed so many prototypes to determine the sizes and dimensions of the material which took a lot of time during the process. She added that designing something that can be of help in someone’s life felt very incredible.
During the visit, the children were more eager using other materials that suit to their interests. For instance, one young girl was given a toy block that tests cognitive skills that can help her understand cause and effect.
The toy has three blocks that can be raised and lowered by just pressing on them.
The class was handled by Paul Rotstein, a technology educator at the school, said that he was pleased with how the events turned out. Not only that his students learned on how the 3D printer can work but also how it help the children achieve something during the process, he added. On most cases, some of the devices weren’t meant for learning but serves as a distraction for most children who suffer from difficult treatments.
Moreover, having classroom activities like this can surely help students understand more about technology and 3D printing. Not only that the students can get a chance in developing newer devices, the class can also apply these inventions in real life and how it can be of help in giving others a better life.