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Brookdale’s Engineering Students Create Prosthetic Hand

Monmouth County, NJ – Two Brookdale Community College Engineering students created a prosthetic hand to qualify as a designer for e-NABLE, a national organization of volunteers who make free upper limb prosthetics for those in need, particularly children.

Professor of Engineering and Technology Lisa Hailey introduced the 3D printer to her students at the beginning of the semester. She offered to help them with any special projects they wanted to do. At the end of the semester, two students approached her. Both graduated in May from Brookdale’s Chemical Engineering program. Anjeli Santillan, who received the STEM Outstanding Student Award, will continue her studies in biomedical. Mason Brown is continuing his studies in chemical engineering, and both are transferring to the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT) which Brookdale has an articulation agreement.

3D printing is a method of creating a three-dimensional object layer-by-layer using a computer-created design. The students used an extrusion-based 3D printing technology called Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM). Like a hot glue gun, plastic filament (spools of plastic) feed through the top, whereby the layers of plastic melt and build up to create a 3D part.

The students printed the hand in a few parts, including the palm, the knuckles, and the fingers.

“The process was crazy awesome, because I got to work with one of my favorite professors on a project that I’ve aspired to do since high school, said Santillan. The thought of building prosthetics is what initially drove me to pursue biomedical engineering.”

e-NABLE is a global movement of volunteers using 3D printers to create free 3D-printed hands and arms for those needing upper limb assistive devices. To qualify to become an ENABLE volunteer, the students will present the hand they created by video to prove it is of excellent quality. Then they are listed as being able to make that hand. So potentially, their names will be on a list, and if a child lives in Monmouth County and needs a hand, they can call upon Santillan or Brown to create one for the child.

“As e-NABLE volunteer makers, Mason’s and my goal is to send functional hands to children for free,” said Santillan. “With NJIT’s Makerspace, we hope to continue this volunteer work during our time at school. We are also looking forward to joining the Prosthetics Club, where we will design and assemble prosthetics for animals.”

“I am hoping Anjeli’s and Mason’s work will inspire other students at Brookdale,” said Professor Hailey.

Brookdale offers five major areas of study in their Engineering program, Chemical, Civil, Electrical, Industrial and Mechanical. For more information about the Engineering program at Brookdale please visit  https://www.brookdalecc.edu/stem-institute/engineering/