Thursday, May 28, 2015

The Hand of Grace

Grace Hildreth, 9, is a spunky third-grader living near South Bend, Indiana. Nobody's sure why she was born without a complete right arm. She accomplishes a lot with just one hand, but wishes she had two, so she could shake hands with people, and tickle her sisters. Now she can, thanks to dedicated engineering students at nearby Penn High School who used their 3-D printer to create a working hand for her. One of the students, senior Spencer Graf, at first thought the task was too hard for "a bunch of high school kids with no real-life engineering experience." But after the modeling was done, he knew they could do it. And they did.


As reported in the South Bend Tribune, Grace recently demonstrated her new arm at Penn High School before a crowd of 200 school administrators, teachers, families and students, including the engineering students who made her hand. Before she came on stage wearing a gown made by high school sewing students, everyone watched a student-made movie called "Hand of Grace" which told her story. You can see it at  When it was time to demonstrate her arm, Grace placed her artificial hand next to a bottle of glue; tightened her fingers around the bottle and raised it high in the air, to a roar of applause. Grace has nine more years before she graduates from Penn High School. During those years, future high school engineering students will continue to refine and improve the artificial arm to better meet her changing needs. They won't give up until they create the perfect hand of Grace.

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