A 10-year-old Virginia girl born with no left hand and a severely abbreviated forearm is now making sweet music thanks to a a specially designed (and hot pink!) prosthetic built from a 3D printer.
Associated Press reports that five undergraduate bioengineering students at nearby George Mason University, assisted by a music professor at Mason, produced the design for their senior capstone project, and young Isabella Nicola Cabrera tested the final version on Thursday after multiple prototypes built throughout the year.
“Oh my gosh, that’s so much better,” Cabrera said of the new attachment, which the team aimed to make comfortable while providing the range of motion for Cabrera to move her bow appropriately on the strings.
Previously, Cabrera’s music teacher at Island Creek Elementary in Fairfax County had built a device for her that allowed her to move the bow with her left arm and finger the strings with her right, which is opposite of how the instrument is typically taught, according to AP. The teacher approached the university—where he had attended school— to see if they could design something better, perhaps not as heavy as his iteration.
“I’ve always had perseverance in myself,” the budding violinist said. “Giving up has just never been a thought in my head.”
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On Thursday, the team sweetened the deal, even surprising Cabrera with an additional attachment that let her grip a handlebar and ride a bicycle.