Changing the World Limb by Limb

By Vaughn College

“I know it sounds cliché, but I want to build robots and I want to be making prosthetic limbs and braces that would help athletes to continue to move right after surgery.” – Maia Rivers, Class of 2018

Helping people and changing the world is anything but cliché. As the field of engineering continues to advance, Vaughn College is committed to staying ahead of the curve with the latest in cutting-edge innovation and engineering technology. Its 3D prototyping innovation center―within the department of engineering and technology―is equipped with 3D printers and scanners to give students the opportunity of putting their classroom knowledge into action. Providing such an innovative atmosphere is paramount to creating pioneers in the industry who can go on to do great things and change the world we live in for the better.

Prosthetic ‘Fin’ Made From 3D Printers Making a Splash with Amputees

Groundbreaking advancements using 3D printers are making a big splash in the world of prosthetics, as developers have created a revolutionary underwater prosthetic leg called “the Fin,” which gives amputees a second chance at swimming, according to CNN.

Diving into the need

Todd Goldstein, Director of Northwell Ventures 3D Printing Laboratory in Manhasset, New York, designed and fabricated “the Fin” with the use of a 3D printer to meet the needs of active amputees who needed an easier way to navigate in the water and maximize their propulsion while they swim.

Putting “the Fin” to the test

The latest engineering advancements that utilize 3D printing make this innovative swim leg easy to use for lower leg amputees. They attach it to their own prosthetic, which allows them to easily get in and out of the water without changing prosthetics. And it is designed with multiple holes that allows water to flow through the V-shaped fin as the swimmer kicks, giving them maximum propulsion.

Embracing Wounded Warriors

After losing his leg in Afghanistan 14 years ago, retired Marine Corporal Dan Lasko was selected by Northwell Health to test this state-of-the-art swimming leg. His passion as a triathlete, as well as having two sons who love the water, made Lasko the perfect candidate for the job.

Lasko said he’s been in contact with some of his fellow wounded warriors who are also interested in the device. The Department of Veteran Affairs states 2.6 percent of war veterans return home missing a limb. And according to the Amputee Coalition of America, at least 185,000 lower leg amputations are performed every year, which means there are approximately two million amputees in the United States.

With such staggering numbers, innovative prosthetic devices like “the Fin” are making a difference in quality of life by helping get amputees back in the water.

Vaughn College offers students a unique opportunity to turn their dreams into a reality and create incredible innovations of their own. Learn more about the College’s wide range of engineering and engineering technology degrees and see how a degree from Vaughn can prepare you for an exciting career in this expanding field.