Aidan Lloyd is a 17 year old student who’s robotic hand project has received national recognition in the running for the National Eagle Scout Project of the Year! Aidan, a student of Don Bosco Prep in New Jersey, USA took his love of Engineering and Robotics to create his project, “Helping Hands.”
Inspired by a troop mate from his Scouts who doesn’t have a hand, Aidian combined the expertise gained in his robotics classes with his passion for engineering fostered through the school’s engineering class to come up with the project.
“I always had an interest in the sciences, but I really enjoyed learning about different forces in Physics class. This helped me understand and appreciate the inner workings of the hand and my project as a whole” Aidan explains.Aidan first got involved with Robotics as an eighth grader at “St. Joseph School” in Oradell, as part of a grammar school summer program created by DBP and run by Fr. Lou Konopelski, SDB.
As part of completing an Eagle Scout project, Aidan researched and planned each step of the process. He was required to enlist, mentor, and oversee volunteers, as well as seek product donations from local businesses.
The prosthetic hand is a delicate creation that requires an extreme amount of technical know-how to put together!
Aidan bought his own 3-D printer and filament, and used STL files from a website to fabricate and print out the models for each hand, each taking about 10 hours to print. With Aidan’s guidance, two teams of eight volunteers, including fellow DBP students, assembled fifteen hands, “piece by piece, screw by screw, finger by finger, applying both physics and engineering.”
Each assembly session took approximately four hours. The hand works based on tension, with little strings that go from the gripper box through the hand and up to the fingers and thumb. The fingers move and the hand can close and be used to pick things up.
Fourteen prosthetic hands were shipped to SUNY Polytechnic University in Utica, NY for distribution. The final hand will be given, post pandemic, to his scout troop mate who inspired his project.
“I am really proud of the hand and really proud of who we are helping,” Aidan said. “We really did well. It gives you the ability to be there for people without really being there.”
With so much accomplished, Aidan’s story still doesn’t end!
During the COVID-19 stay-at-home order, Aidan has continued to put his 3-D printer to great use. He has made over 600 mask extenders, which is a plastic piece that hooks around the elastic of a face mask and reduces the pressure and discomfort behind the ears.
Seeing a chance to help during the pandemic, Adian begun to produce an adjustment for the vital lifemask.
These have been delivered to local pharmacies, police forces, healthcare workers and first responders. Last week he gave 36 extenders to Don Bosco Prep’s school nurse for distribution at St. Joseph’s Hospital and the Valley Hospital, both hospitals nearby the school.
“First responders are working so hard to help those who are sick every single day,” Aidan said. “This is my way of helping them out.”
Aidan's future plan is to major in Astrophysics and pursue a doctoral degree!