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Local Engineering Students Create Prosthetic Arm for 6th Grade Musician

Education, Featured

Khen Hoih | FOX 4

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Engineering students from Irving Nimitz High School designed a prosthetic that enabled a middle schooler born without an arm to play the violin.

The students, who have been working on the project during their engineering class since November 2021, were able to create a prototype in just a month.

Khen Hoih was born without the lower part of his left arm. 

During an interview with FOX 4 News, the sixth-grader said his brother had played in the orchestra, and told him he might enjoy it, if not for the problem of his hand.

However, Hoih was determined to join, so he went to Lorenzo De Zavala Middle School, asking to play the violin. 

His teachers, who wanted to help him after seeing his dedication, brought the idea to senior engineering students at the high school.

The students immediately began working on ideas for 3D printing the prosthetic, and figuring out what worked through trial and error.

“A lot of pieces broke off in the beginning; we had to definitely modify that,” said Christian Erazo, Nimitz High School senior.

With a bit of feedback from Hoih, the engineering students successfully built a functioning prosthetic arm.

“We just kept asking, how does it feel, what do you want us to do better, how do you want it to look?” Erazo added.

Hoih, impressed with the invention, expressed surprise that it worked so well. 

The prosthetic not only changed the middle schooler’s life but Erazo’s, along with Anthony Daigle, Julian Jimenez, and Americo Guerrero, who all worked on the project.

“It brought a smile to all of our faces to be able to make a kid’s dream come true despite his disability or any setbacks he may face,” Erazo said.

The engineering students are now working to make prosthetics more accessible overall by creating electronic files of their designs. The students hope that sharing their work will let others 3D print using their existing templates or build off of their plans to create new ones.         

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