Students creating prosthetic hand for teacher’s daughter

Fifth- and sixth-graders at Lincoln Elementary are starting a project to provide a girl a new prosthetic hand.

Zoe Kilgore, the daughter of Lincoln kindergarten teacher Leah Kilgore, was born without a hand.

Leah said it wasn’t because of any genetic disease. “The doctor said it was just one of those fluke things that happen,” she said.

Now high-ability students will work together to build a prosthetic hand for Zoe using 3D printing technology.

Friday, Leah brought 2-1/2-year-old Zoe to the school to introduce her to her kindergarten class and the fifth- and sixth-graders who will be working on creating the hand.

The fingers on the prosthetic will work by Zoe controlling them on her wrist.

Leah taught the students about treating everyone equally and showed them a video about other children who have had hands made through 3D printing.

The hope is to have functioning hand for Zoe by the end of the school year, Leah said.

The students got together in groups and asked Leah and her husband, Jeremy, questions about Zoe and the process of printing a 3D hand.

The school has a kit in which to produce a model. Once the model is made, then the item must be approved to go into production.

David Robertson, Warsaw Community Schools chief academic officer, said every school in the district has a 3D printer now.

“The technology will be there one day that if you blow out your knee, they can just print you out a new one,” Robertson said.

The 3D printer will be used to make a model of the hand, and then eventually processed into a real working hand.

Leah said that after Zoe gets her hand, she would like the school to become a chapter for the website e-NABLE. Leah said the goal would be to help other children in the community.

The closest place for a person to get a prosthetic hand through e-NABLE is in Fort Wayne, Leah said.

She hopes that the project will be able to help people in Kosciusko County.