Prosthetic hands created by local teens presented to 11-year-old girl

April 26, 2018 11:44 PM

TROY - "I'm going to be able to write easily, tie my shoes easily," Karissa Mitchell explained.

Karissa Mitchell, 11, is no stranger to prosthetics.


"It feels like I have a real hand and it's really cool."

She was born with Holt-Oram, a syndrome causing abnormalities in the hand and heart.

"I think it's probably been harder on us than it's been on her, she doesn't know any different," Maria Mitchell said.

It's never slowed her down though. Karissa says she wants to be an actress, professional soccer player and animal rights activist. 

"She does not like to be treated differently, she will try everything," Karissa's mom said.
Karissa outgrew her first and second prosthetic. She had a feeling she'd receive a new one at the Tech Valley Center of Gravity but had no idea she'd actually be presented with three.

Designed by a group of 21 kids from 10 area schools and using Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math, three groups created their own hand design in Karissa's preferred colors.

"We 3-D printed a little demo version of each of our ideas and then we got to see how practical they actually were and a lot of them turned out to be great on paper but not really too practical in action," Connor Danz said.

Then another surprise, one more prosthetic, this design created by volunteers at e-NABLE's Rochester branch with the ability to grip. 

"Put it in this way, you can write with it. You might be right handed and didn't know it."

"(It's) a Global network of volunteers, we have discovered and I think proven, can do things that businesses and governments and non-governmental organizations can’t do," e-NABLE's President, Jon Schull said.

And in the midst of all the excitement, all Karissa needed now was a helping hand with her new hands.

"Where do I put all this stuff?" she laughed.

Karissa was asked to report feedback to e-NABLE so they can continue to tweak and perfect their 3-D printer prosthetic hand model.

If you'd like to learn more about the program, click here.


Karen Tararache

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