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Lehigh Valley

Printing out a new type of medical technology

Printing out a new type of medical technology

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - Some Lehigh University students are teaming up with therapists at Good Shepherd Rehab to get the upper hand on what may be the future of prosthetic.

Not often do college engineering students get paparazzi style attention -- unless you've built a hand exoskeleton from a 3-D printer.

"A lot of what we are making is specific to each person, we would tailor it to their needs," student Jeff Peisner said.

Partnering with Good Shepherd Rehab, you could say Lehigh University Bio and Mechanical Engineering students Jeff Peisner, Colleen Perry and Elena Ramirez have spent their summer giving handouts.

Their design of this hand exoskeleton is meant for children needing rehabilitation and it was built by a 3-D printer.

Using spools of plastic and heat 3-D printers build up, rather than out. The team gave a presentation to therapy workers at Good Shepherd where one said with a few minor tweaks, at least one current patient could already benefit from their 3-D printed creation.

The students say a big benefit to this is the cost. Initially a 3-D printer costs about $2,000 bucks but the material for their custom made mechanical hand cost $5, which you can print over and over again.

"The whole goal is to be an open source file that is accessible to those who need it," Perry said.

For now it's a summer project that promises to give their design the upper hand over others. It's set to be a teaching tool for the benefits of 3-D printing.

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