Students design prosthetic hands for WNY kids through special project

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — “I have to use only this arm and try to use this arm and it doesn’t work out that way,” said Katelyn McCarthy of Derby.

Nine year old Katelyn McCarthy was born without a right hand, and part of her forearm.

“Katelyn is very determined she figures out how to do things but at the same time it takes her a little bit longer to do things and if there’s something that’s going to help her get there a little bit quicker we want to give that to her,” said Amy McCarthy, Katelyn’s mom.

Like Katelyn, two Western New York boys named Liam and Caedan are also missing one hand and part of their forearm. But through a special project called “Hand in Hand” powered by AT&T, students are designing them prosthetic hands.
Today their hands and forearms were measured.

“Once we have the initial measurements and also the corresponding measurements of their other arm, other hands can be fabricated for them using just proportions and ratio that will grow along with their bodies too,” said Cherie Messore, WNY STEM Executive Director.

Students are learning about the anatomy of a human hand, and how to make a prosthetic hand work.

“We made cardboard hands and we use straws to represent joints and bones and string to represent the muscles,” said student Jasmin Gill.

Using 3-D printers and software, students are taking prosthetic hands from concept to reality.

“The plate that goes on the arm it’s going to be printed flat but after we print it flat then we’re going to use a thermoforming which is when you put it in the boiled water,” said Gill.

For little Katelyn, a prosthetic hand will improve her quality of life.

“She can figure out when it will help her best, and use it then,” said Katelyn’s mother Amy McCarthy.

The three Western New York kids will be receiving their prosthetic hands next month on August 15th. One prosthetic hand is also going to be delivered to a child in India. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review. Note: Comments containing links are not allowed.

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