Forest Lake Academy (FLA) Biomechatronics Group in Apopka, Fla., has partnered with E-nable (enablingthefuture.org) to provide 3D printed prosthetic devices to children in central Florida who suffer from amniotic band syndrome. The syndrome is a congenital amputation disorder causing children to be born without an arm or hand below the elbow. According the Amputee Coalition, one out of every 1,000 children in the U.S. is born with the disorder.
As an E-nable partner, FLA will 3D print, assemble, and distribute the assistive devices designed by E-nable to children in central Florida who suffer from the disorder. A professionally made prosthesis can cost between $6,000 and $10,000. Unfortunately, making the decision to purchase a prosthesis for a growing child is one that many are not willing to make. The cost to produce the E-nable designed “robo-hand” is only $35.
“What our students are doing is transformational, and it embodies the essence of our mission and vision,” states Frank Jones, FLA principal. His vision for STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) at FLA has paved the way for the formation of the biomechantronics group.
The biomechatronics group has begun designing an original mechanized prosthetic device utilizing Arduino and Myoware technologies. Currently, the prototype is going through its second iteration. FLA offers four courses in robotics that equip the student roboticists with the skill set needed to develop the devices: foundation of robotics, robot design, robot programming, and advanced robotics.
The biomechatronics group is one of several STEM interest groups that operates out of the FLA Robotics and Innovation Lab (RIL). Launched in August of 2014 as a robotics club, RIL is a STEM initiative that is designed to allow students to pursue their passions, and to develop within each participant the STEM competencies (resilience, STEM knowledge, and STEM identity) needed to successfully pursue a STEM career.
Other RIL groups include the Applied Robotics Group, the Brain Computer Interface Group, the Information Technologies Group, and the FLA Junior Robotics Group. The lab is composed of a maker space, a tech center, and an ideation space.
Florida | April 2018