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. Aidan became part of the Engineering/Robotics Pathway and, while working on the 3-D printer in class, fostered an interest in modelling and prosthetics.
“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.”
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.
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 actually close.
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.”
But Aidan didn’t stop there. During this stay-at-home order, he 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. Aidan’s father, a retired Sheriff’s Sergeant, has delivered them to local pharmacies and police forces, healthcare workers and first responders, and a portion has been mailed to an Air Force base in New Mexico. Last week he gave 36 extenders to Don Bosco Prep’s school nurse for distribution at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Paterson, NJ and Valley Hospital in Ridgewood, NJ.
“First responders are working hard to help those who are sick every day,” Aidan said. “This is my way of helping them out.”
Aidan is also a member of DBP’s Ski and Crew teams. His future plan is to major in Astrophysics and pursue a doctoral degree.
“Aidan has great abilities and has accomplished an extraordinary achievement,” said President Bob Fazio. “As a student, Aidan has modelled how to maximize your great potential.”
Source: Don Bosco Prep