3D printing technology has been reaching all fields and the medical field is benefitting the most. At St. Mary’s Hospital for Children there are children you have special needs and to help out with the situation, tech-savvy high school students and using their skills to help patients at this Queens hospital.
The St. Mary’s Hospital for Children offers rehabilitation for children with complex and often chronic conditions that interfere with their quality of life. Student’s in Lynbrook High School’s Advance Design and Innovation Class are using 3D printing technology to develop a series of prototype adaptive devices solving range challenges for these tiny patients. Targeting specific motor skills with the use of modified iPad stylus design to a colorful puzzle has become a welcome distraction for these kids. While the patients enjoy the new products and gadgets, The Lynbrook High School students are equally joyful with a sense of satisfaction that their innovations change the lives of these deserving children. The toys, games and assistive devices help the children to operate tools like iPads independently, or to learn important cognitive and motor skills, while some of them provide welcome comfort and distraction while the kids undergo difficult treatments.
One little girl, Mary isn’t using an iPad during occupational therapy for the first time, but it sure is a memorable moment for her. Unlike other devices she’s used, this stylus pen is designed specifically for her needs. This teen suffers from a neurological condition that limits her mobility. “A lot of times, during our sessions, you know with what we do have we’re adjusting frequently and having to take breaks, so having something that is easy for her to access it makes it a little bit more enjoyable for her,” said Leah Brennan, an occupational therapist.
The high school students have been studying the needs of these patients for the past few months. Now they’re using 3D printing technology adaptive devices to accommodate their special needs. “I took this class because I love to design, but knowing that my designs are actually being used in the real world, it warms my heart, it makes my day,” said Aleksandra Ratkiewicsz,, a student. Students were able to test their prototypes including an interactive toy for one patient. Along with the prototypes, the students are also working on 20 other designs that haven’t made it to the printing stage yet. The class is taught by Paul Rotstein who is not only pleased with the direction his course is moving, or his students who are gaining a helpful skill but he’s also pleased for the kids they are helping.
Projects like this become great stepping stones for students who may want to pursue a career in this field. Teachers and students get joy out of designing, creating, and using their products to make someone’ s life a bit easier or to comfort and distract the children while they’re going difficult treatments.