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“It took just a few weeks for a group of Boston-based teenagers to develop an affordable prosthetic hand for children. These teens took a brief hiatus from school to enroll in NuVu Studio, a project-based learning program in Cambridge, Mass. that pairs students with real-world projects.
On their first day at NuVu, students were split into groups of 10, assigned a mentor (typically a doctoral student) and a theme, like “the future of global warming” or “balloon mapping.” In the most recent health-themed studio, one of these teams mocked up the prosthetic hand, after conducting interviews with patients, the families of amputees, physicians, and engineers in the Boston area. The students ultimately hacked MakerBot’s original files to make their design on a 3D printer.
NuVu is the brainchild of Saeed Arida, a former PhD student from MIT who believes that young people should be taught to solve real-world problems, like using new materials to design higher-quality prosthetics.
“Studios are not subjects in the traditional sense, as they involve finding a solution for a very real human problem,” said Arida. “What students do here is a very different kind of educational experience.””
By Christina Farr
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