Engineering students to unveil prosthetic limbs for amputees in Colombia

University of Rhode Island engineering students will unveil the prosthetic arms and hands they made for amputees in Colombia at a special event on Thursday, July 6.

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Prosthetics Design-a-thon
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KINGSTON, R.I. — July 3, 2017 — University of Rhode Island engineering students will unveil the prosthetic arms and hands they made for amputees in Colombia at a special event on Thursday, July 6.

The event is the culmination of weeks of work between the students, and faculty and students from a Colombian institution who are visiting URI to collaborate on the project. The event will be held at Schneider Electric, 132 Fairgrounds Road, West Kingston.

The four presentations from 2 to 3 p.m. will each last 15 minutes. From 3 to 4 p.m., the students will demonstrate how the prostheses—made with a 3-D printer—function.

Four URI engineering students are involved in the project: James Gannon of Coventry; Christian Witcher of North Smithfield; Laura Parra of Pawtucket; and Corvah Akoiwala of Providence. Gannon, Witcher, and Parra are in URI’s Spanish International Engineering Program (IEP).

Next month, the four engineering students, Silke Scholz, director of the Spanish International Engineering Program, and graduate student Joshua Gyllinsky will travel to Colombia to continue work on the prostheses. The students will live with Colombian families.

The project was made possible with a $25,000 grant from the “100,000 Strong in the Americas” program, an initiative of former President Barack Obama to increase the number of American students studying in Latin America, as well as the number of Latin American students studying in America. The award is a collaboration with SENA Centro Nacional Colombo Alemán in Barranquilla, Colombia.

For more information, contact Silke at sscholz@uri.edu. The event is being held at Schneider Electric, the temporary location for several engineering programs during construction of a new engineering center on the Kingston campus.