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Student-built Prosthetics Reach Young Girl in Ecuador

Posted on Oct 25, 2022 by J. Bradshaw

Samantha (left), through her translator, thanks students from a Cleveland-based high school robotics team for creating a set of 3D-printed prosthetic arms that will change her life – Image credit, IMAHelps


Thanks to video conferencing, student representatives from the FIRST® Robotics Competition team at Davis Aerospace and Maritime High School had the chance to meet a young girl in Ecuador whose life was changed for the better by their Global Community Service Project.

The team is one of the four area high school robotics teams that are part of the Greater Cleveland FIRST® Robotics Initiative, a joint venture between Great Lakes Science Center and the Cleveland Metropolitan School District. The four teams all participate in the FIRST® Robotics Competition, a fun, challenging, and inspiring, science and technology program for students in grades 9-12.

FIRST® is more than robots. And while the Initiative uses robotics to teach and reinforce student learning in the areas of science, technology, engineering, and math, program administrators also challenge students to use what they are learning to make their community, and the world a better place.

After doing some research, the students discovered that there were children in developing nations who were born with missing fingers and hands, or who had lost them due to regional conflicts, illness, or accidents. This revelation prompted the students to want to work with others from the “maker community,” to create free, low-cost, upper limb prosthetic devices for children in need.  And after hearing about Samantha, the 12-year-old girl who lost the use of both arms in a bus accident, the students all wanted to help. The project was particularly personal for Daniela Moreno, one of the student leaders on the team who is originally from Ecuador.















A doctors from IMAHelps assist Samantha with one   

of her new prosthetic arms - Image credit, IMAHelps  

With the support of the Great Lakes Science Center and the financial backing of the David and Inez Myers Foundation, the students began applying the skills they had learned while building robots to engineer two, 3D-printed prosthetic arms for Samantha. Last week a representative from IMAHelps, a U.S.-based non-profit organization that conducts medical humanitarian missions abroad, visited the students at their team headquarters at the Great Lakes Science Center to pick up the student-built prosthetic limbs and transport them to Samantha and her family in Ecuador.  

On Tuesday, Samantha received her new arms and the Cleveland students were able to speak with her via Zoom and through a translator. Samantha thanked the team for what they had done and the Cleveland students were able to advise her on how best to care for her new prosthetic devices.  


The Zoom call was covered live by WKYC, the local NBC affiliate. Click HERE to see the WKYC broadcast.



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Cincinnati, OH 45207

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Columbus, OH 43235

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Cleveland, OH 44114

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[Hospital Name & Address TBD]

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

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1700 University Ave.,

Flint MI 48504

2024 Curiosity Open Robotics Challenge

September 28, 2024

Great Lakes Science Center
601 Erieside Avenue
Cleveland, OH 44114


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