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'Frozen'-themed prosthetic given to Stillwater girl thanks to 3D printer, Siena students

karissa mitchell frozen prosthetic

LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Siena students used a 3D printer to create a prosthetic arm for a 9-year-old girl themed after her favorite movie.

When the Disney blockbuster “Frozen” hit theaters, merchandise flew off the shelves. But a little girl in Stillwater didn’t want a backpack or a shirt. She wanted an arm.

Karissa Mitchell was born without a right hand, but on Wednesday she got the next best thing – a “Frozen”-themed prosthetic. When the Siena College students who created it fastened it on, Karissa, summed it up in just one word: “Awesome.”

The new arm will take some getting used to, but Karissa is not giving up.

“It feels like I have a real hand,” she said.

Receiving the arm was a moment her parents, Maria and Michael Mitchell, have been waiting for. Her ear-to-ear smile made the yearlong effort worth it.

“For her to be excited about it is just an amazing feeling,” Siena senior Alyx Gleason said.

Gleason is part of the group called Enabling the Future. It’s a worldwide network of volunteers who use 3D printing to give a helping hand free of charge.

“They are helping kids who otherwise might not get something like this,” Maria said. “It’s heartwarming to know that college kids are doing this.”

Karissa’s parents beamed at their daughter when she received her new arm. But Karissa knows it’s okay to be different.

“Because it would be a lot boring if everybody was like everybody,” she said.

Be yourself – that’s the message you’ll find in Karissa’s favorite movie, “Frozen.”

“Just because you may be a little different you can do what you want to do as long as you just have a goal and do it,” Maria said. “She’s going to be something.”

The prosthetic arm included about 30 pieces and took about 30 hours to print. The students said they’ll continue working with Karissa and her family and will be making her a new one whenever she needs it.

Dog is now able to run, thanks to 3D-printed prostheses

Derby the dog faced a challenge right from Day One. Due to a congenital deformity, he was born with very small forelegs and no front paws. This resulted in his ending up in the care of Hillsborough, New Hampshire-based dog rescue group, Peace and Paws. Fortunately, he then proceeded into the foster home of Tara Anderson. She works for 3D printing company 3D Systems (3DS), and set about using her employer’s technology to make him a set of prostheses. As a result, he’s now able to run for the first time.

Anderson worked with animal orthotist Derrick Campana and two of her 3DS co-workers, designers Kevin Atkins and Dave DiPinto.

They started by 3D-scanning Derby’s forelegs. They then used 3DS’ Geomagic Freeform digital sculpting platform to create computer models of leg-attachment cups for the prostheses, which would perfectly match the contours of Derby’s appendages.

Using a ProJet 5500X multi-material 3D printer, the actual physical prostheses were then created in a single build within a few hours. Along with the cups, they incorporate rubber treads and rigid spokes, and are attached with straps.

As can be seen in the video below, Derby is now able to run across all manner of surfaces. He had previously been set up with a wheeled cart-style apparatus, although this was awkward, and didn’t allow him to actually run with his front legs.

Making things better yet, Anderson found a permanent home for him, with adoptive human parents Sherri and Dom Portanova. “He runs with Sherri and I every day, at least two to three miles,” said Dom. “When I saw him sprinting like that on his new legs, it was just amazing.”

Source: 3D Systems


Ben Coxworth An experienced freelance writer, videographer and television producer, Ben’s interest in all forms of innovation is particularly fanatical when it comes to human-powered transportation, film-making gear, environmentally-friendly technologies and anything that’s designed to go underwater. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, where he spends a lot of time going over the handlebars of his mountain bike, hanging out in off-leash parks, and wishing the Pacific Ocean wasn’t so far away.   All articles by Ben Coxworth