LOS ANGELES, CA – A teen is lending a helping hand by creating prosthetics for those in need.

  • Teen making prosthetics for free
  • Lending a hand to people in need
  • Uses her school’s 3-D printer for her creations

The hand looks bionic and in many ways, it is. The bone structure is a durable, but lightweight plastic and sinews braided fishing line. The prosthetic hand was built by 17-year-old Karishma Raghuram.

The intricate design means getting the fit just right.

“We can do so many things with such little resources, and it’s amazing to see that at such a young age where we’re able to contribute in such a major way,” says Raghuram.

Raghuram is a senior at Sage Hill School in Newport Beach, and she is a part the school’s award-winning prosthetics program. The school’s 3-D printer is capable of a rainbow of colors, but these appendages aren’t just for show.

In fact, the color of the prosthetic is the recipient’s choice. Raghuram makes hands for people who need them for free.

Medical-grade hands can cost upwards of $10,000. Sage Prosthetics builds them for people who can’t afford them - providing those recipients with the ability to catch a ball or open a door. The program has built and fixes custom hands and arms for people all over the world using pictures and measurements to model them a custom prosthetic.

“Social media’s a big thing. Often times we’ll get people posting from various parts of the world or country that they suddenly have 50 recipients in Pakistan that they need help making hands for so we’ll jump in and help,” says the club teacher Amy Lerch.

Raghuram is waiting to hear back from colleges but hopes to pursue a career in the S.T.E.M. field. Prosthetics certainly is a head start, but for her the reward is in the way these hands are received.

“I’m always overjoyed by the ability that we all have and the resources that we’re able to have at this school and through this project quite frankly to be able to help so many people,” Raghuram says.

Bionic or not, it is a superpower in itself to change a life.