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Endorsement Stories

Stay up to date with the latest stories about academics! From student projects to student successes, see what's going on with our academic department. 

Valor STEM January Newsletter

BIOENGINEERING CLUB PART I: Plaster Molding

Help from an Expert

The Valor Bioengineering Club is preparing an entry for the IDEATE Competition that will take place in February.  Building on the prior success with the BrainCo NeuroMaker Challenge, the team is attempting to build an actual prosthetic hand with a real patient.

The patient lost four fingers on her right hand but still retains the use of her thumb.  The project plan is to scan the fingers of her left hand, reverse the image in the computer, and 3D print new fingers for her right hand.

Dr. Weir, with the University of Colorado Weir Biomechatronics Development Laboratory, worked with the team and recommended that the team create an impression of the hand in alginate and then cast a model with plaster of the patient. It is easier to 3D scan a plaster model than the real hand. 

It turns out that casting a hand is a difficult process for the uninitiated.  Claire Kim ('23) and Josh Alford ('22) found Elise Griset at Open Bionics who makes the Hero Arm product.  Mrs. Griset generously came to campus to share her expertise and walk the team through the process of modeling a hand.

The Bioengineering team is doing some excellent work.  They did a proof-of-concept with a 3D Surface iPad scanner, so a professional Einscan H scanner has been obtained for them.  There is still a lot of work to be done with printing the fingers, creating the socket, and designing the electronics, but the team is excited for the challenge!

BIOENGINEERING CLUB Part II: CU Biomechatronics

Bioechatronic Development Lab Tour 

Recently, the Valor Bioengineering Club was privileged to take a tour of the University of Colorado Weir Biomechatronics Development Laboratory at Children’s Hospital.  Dr. Weir and his staff focus on upper-limb prostheses and specialize in hands.

Their facilities include world-class 3D rapid prototyping technology used to print in dual material plastic on a Connex 350 and print in maraging steel using an EOS M270 Direct Metal Laser-Sintering system.

The first prostheses they showed was a passive, ratcheting device that uses no electronics.  The fingers are closed manually using the good hand.  Stephanie Lorelli was our host.  She develops the fuzzy-logic control algorithms that drive the electric motors in the more advanced prosthetic systems.  The Valor Girls Who Code have been working with the code that runs on the Arduino!

We thank Dr. Weir and his staff for their assistance and for walking us through the process of designing and building a prosthetic system.

Want to join the Bioengineering, Metalworking, Chemistry, Girls Who Code, Agriculture, Space Engineering, or Robotics club? These are just a few of the STEM clubs running this Spring and registration is open! Scan the QR code to access the full list, times, and locations. Reach out to the faculty sponsor or student club lead for more information. 

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