Teens Uses Tech to Build Prosthetic Arm for His Dad

Just when you get a bit jaded and soured on technology when you hear about things like cybercrimes, cyber-scams, and cyberbullying – and people (yes, sometimes people can cruel) – you hear about someone like St. Louis high school student Robbie Frei doing something good with technology.

Using a 3D printer in the process, Robbie built a prosthetic arm for his father, a U.S. military veteran injured in 2003 during an attack in Iraq. It was a project that took the teen about three months to complete.

Before building the arm, Robbie constructed an arm adapter for a video game console. That adapter enabled Robbie’s father to play video games again.

“When my dad was injured in the Marines he wasn’t able to play video games with us for about 10 years, and after I created that 3D printed adapter, he was able to play with us full speed,” Robbie told Fox 2 St. Louis. The Fox affiliate’s report is posted on foxnews.com.

The report also noted that Robbie later crafted a custom scanned prosthetic using his father’s left hand and mirroring it so it could be used as his father’s right hand. It took some trial-and-error, but Robbie eventually fine-tuned things and constructed an arm which allows his father to control finger movements.

“He knows how to get projects done and come up with amazing things,” Derek Ward, Robotics Advisor at Robbie’s high school, told Fox 2 St. Louis.  “He’s been on the robotics team for six years now.  So, just to watch him go from a 7th-grader to a 12th-grader, (I’m) not surprised he can pull something like this off.”

Also not surprising: Robbie, a high school senior, wants to study robotics when he goes to college. With his talent, his education, and his caring nature, there’s no telling what ways Robbie will use technology to help millions of people later in his life.

So, the next time you find yourself frustrated by your cell phone, laptop or other tech device in your life, just remember how technology can be used to make a difference in our lives. Take a deep breath, and remember that not all technology is evil (yes, that thought has crossed my mind a few times).

Remember that we have technology which can be used to enhance our quality of life. But even more important than that, if we’re lucky, we have people who care about our quality of life – just how Robbie Frei cares about his father’s quality of life.

I thank Robbie’s father for serving our country in the military. And I thank Robbie for being a kind person who uses his intelligence for good.

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