Elementary student gets prosthetic limb with help from EWU engineering students

Elementary student gets prosthetic limb with help from EWU engineering students

10-year old Isaiah Strom is a fifth grader at Madison Elementary. He’s a friendly, energy-filled kid with a lot of personality.

“I was so excited to show my friends and see their reaction,” said Strom when he first got his prosthetic. “I can dab now.”

Its been about a week since he first received his 3-D printed prosthetic limb from EWU engineering students and he’s gotten quick at putting it on.

“What they told me to do is just bend my elbow and this part up, and then the hand will close, and then I straighten it out and the hand will open,” said Strom.

He says he’s able to do things like pick up bottles, use pencils and hold his video game controller with two hands since he received the prosthetic, which fits over the limited limb he was born with.

His newfound mobility is thanks to his teacher and math coach Betsy Weigle. She said she had been reading an article in the New York Time’s about prosthetic limbs and the new 3-D printed designs and immediately thought of Isaiah.

The pair then put their heads together and began researching.

“He’s interested in science and engineering and we asked ‘what if’,” said Weigle.

She says she reached out to EWU and received a quick reply back. They would be able to help bring this project to life.

A few measurements and a video of Isaiah’s arm mobility later and the EWU team was able to present him with a prosthetic limb.

“I was eating lunch the other day with Isaiah and he was actually able to hold an orange in his prosthetic and peel it with the other, something he’s never been able to do before,” said Weigle.

And though the prosthetic isn’t perfect yet, Isaiah and Weigle are looking into ways of improving it.

“I wish more people knew that the 3-D printing technology is out there and that the prosthetic designs are free and easily found online,” said Weigle, “More people need to know so they can help out kids like Isaiah.”