Halifax Co., VA - When local professor Ronnie Cole saw a CBS News report about a father that created a prosthetic hand for his son, he immediately thought of his daughter and his High Performance Technology students.
"The motivation was much more than it typically would be for a normal class project, of course," Cole said.
Cole's daughter Abby was born without fingers on her left hand.
She too watched that news report, but had no idea her father was already working on it.
"I asked him if you could make me one for Christmas, and he's like, 'How about if I got one for you this Friday,' and I almost started crying, actually, " Abby said.
The students are upperclassmen at Halifax County High School, earning dual enrollment credits through local community colleges.
The instructions for making the prosthetic using the 3-D printer were available step by step online.
Abby's mother - who also works at the Higher Ed Center - says this was a big accomplishment for those students.
"They really could see how this is a real world project, " she said, but many of them say they had no idea how important it was until they saw it action.
"I never realized how big the situation was until she actually put it on and started picking up stuff," said student Christopher Prevett.
Ronnie Cole hopes this technology will one day create cost effective options for prosthetics that currently cost tens of thousands of dollars.
"We could make a hand for about $5, " but for now, he is just glad to see his little girl smiling.
"To see her put it on and say, 'Dad this is awesome. This is cool,' it's just an unbelievable feeling," Cole said.