Cleveland robotics competition helps 12-year-old get prosthetic arms

Cleveland robotics competition helps 12-year-old get prosthetic arms

CLEVELAND (WJW) – Some of Cleveland’s brightest young minds are learning how to build robots and change lives.

Future engineers, astronauts and problem analysts recently met in the Robotics Competition at Great Lakes Science Centerwhile they were in another room working on a side project.

Yariselle Andujar and Daneala Moreno are sophomores at Davis Aerospace and Maritime High School in Cleveland.

They are also on the robotics team and recently got to know a 12-year-old girl in Ecuador who needs their help.

“Her name is Samantha,” Daneala explained.

I was particularly moved by the girl’s story because she is from Ecuador and still has many family members there.

“She had an accident, a car accident and she lost both arms.”

These girls and members of four other Cleveland High School robotics teams knew they could use their skills and passion to make the world a better place to build this little girl’s prosthetic arms.

With the help of their teachers at the Science Center, Yarisel says she and the other students hope to fulfill Samantha’s dreams, “Little girl, she really wants to write her name. But we wanted to give her something more than just write her name.”

They have been working on this project since mid-August when they chanced upon an open tech fair that set them on another path.

13-year-old Ernst Priester went to a technology fair with his family.

“I was walking past. I saw the thing they use now, the thing that can throw things and things, and then when they saw my arm, they asked me if I wanted one. Because I didn’t see the arm at first. I was just looking at the robot thing.”

13-year-old Ernst was born without his right hand, due to something called amniotic band syndrome This is what happens when strands of tissue separate from the amniotic sac and become tangled around parts of the developing body.

Ernst’s parents had no idea until his birth.

“He’s the coolest kid ever,” says Carmen Brester. “Not only is he my son, but he is very motivating. He does everything. He does taekwondo. He is a trumpeter. I try to remember everything! He is great.”

“I love football, I love running. I’ve been doing promotion,” said Ernst.

His favorite thing is flipping backwards on the trampoline and front flips on the grass.

Basically, nothing is stopping this young man from coming back.

So when Ernst tried to use that prosthetic arm at the school tech fair, imagine where his mind went.

Description of that moment:

I had to carry a bottle, a water bottle. When it was straight, I couldn’t hold it because my arms weren’t bent enough but when I put it on, I caught it straight.”

Ernst got a little emotional when he talked about what it means to have a right hand. A tear rolled down his face.

Garisel and Daniela also know, how special, that their teamwork makes a difference in real life.

“When we told him it was free, he got really emotional.”

Mom, Carmen was also touched, “I’ve been crying and stuff. Because I actually tried to get him a prosthetic when he was younger. It was so hard.”

Prosthetics can cost tens of thousands of dollars. These Cleveland students used a 3D printer to create prosthetic hands for about seventy-five dollars a piece. The rest of the money they raise enables them to give Ernst a new robotic arm and build the two that will be sent to Samantha in Ecuador.

“I just hope it works really well,” says Ernst.

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