During an internship at The Tech Museum of Innovation in Silicon Valley, Claire Gutermuth ’15 began working with 3D modeling software and 3D printers to create prosthetic hands for children. Over the following year, working in Davidson’s Studio M makerspace, Claire continued to refine her designs which she customized for several children, and she used the space to develop her own prototype which more closely mimics a real hand.
The significance of Gutermuth’s work in and out of Studio M is large. The ability to 3D print prostheses provides more options for more patients. Not only are they customizable, but they are also far less expensive. A printed prosthetic hand costs about $50 to make whereas high-end prosthetics range from $3000-$30,000. And they’re great for kids who are frequently growing into larger sizes and who want to help decide what their new hand will look like. Want a blue or a Star Wars themed hand? No problem. 3D printing and design make it possible.
Gutermuth has connected with E-nable and Enabling the Future, online volunteer communities that work to design and print prostheses. And she has researched low-cost prosthetic design and care for people with amputations in the developing world. Her innovative hard work has earned her a Fulbright U.S. Student Program grant which she is using in India to further her research. Studio M is proud to have played a role in Claire’s quest to provide affordable customized prostheses for people around the world.