Student Builds Prosthetic For 12-Year-Old Violinist With One Hand

Carol Nisar
A mechanical engineering student in Illinois volunteered his time to create a unique prosthesis for an eighth grader who plays the violin.

A mechanical engineering student attending Northern Illinois University recently created a prosthetic device for a 12-year-old girl so she could play the violin more easily, according to a report by the Chicago Tribune.

Oleasun Taiwo, 20, invented a mobility accessory for Sarah Valentiner, an eighth grader living in DeKalb, Illinois, who was born without a right hand. The device was designed specifically to assist Valentiner in holding the bow to a violin.

Federico Sciammarella, an associate mechanical engineering professor, supervised Taiwo over the summer while he tinkered with designs using a 3D printer. Sciammarella reportedly said, “I gave Oleseun the opportunity and the guidance, but this is his design.”

Taiwo met Valentiner once a week to test prototypes, and finally found the perfect match which fit her comfortably and allowed her to play the violin with more ease. She was previously using a device that was gifted to her by the local Shriner’s Club.

Valentiner’s parents found Taiwo through a global volunteering network, e-Nable, in which designers offer their expertise to create prosthetic hands.

Valentiner couldn’t be more pleased with the outcome. She said, “It wasn’t so much whether it would be a success, but the thought behind it that made this so great.” She has since expressed desire to become an engineer when she grows up so that she can help people, too.

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Banner photo credit: YouTube screenshot, Northern Illinois University