Girl Scouts create prosthetic hand device

Girl Scouts apply to patent award-winning writing tool as they help a 3-year-old hold a pencil for the first time.

Tim Hornyak
Crave freelancer Tim Hornyak is the author of "Loving the Machine: The Art and Science of Japanese Robots." He has been writing about Japanese culture and technology for a decade. E-mail Tim.
Tim Hornyak
Danielle was able to write for the first time. Girl Scouts

Not to be outdone by Boy Scouts who can now earn a robotics badge, a team of Girl Scouts from Iowa has created a prize-winning prosthetic device to help a 3-year-old girl born without fingers on her right hand.

The Flying Monkeys robotics team developed the BOB-1 tool as part of the FIRST Lego League (FLL) competition, an international kids' robotics program.

The Monkeys are 11 to 13 years old, including one who has a limb difference that provided inspiration for the invention. The girls consulted a prosthetics maker and an occupational therapist and came up with a design that has a platform strapped to the arm as well as a cylindrical holder for writing implements or other tools.

The device helped 3-year-old Danielle hold a pencil with her right arm and write for the first time. It also netted the Flying Monkeys an FLL Global Innovation award of up to $20,000 to patent the invention, which they have applied for (PDF).

Danielle's family has worked with the team to improve the device and would like another for a 5-year-old boy it adopted who also has a limb difference.

FLL is part of the Girl Scouts' focus on STEM skills. The FIRST Championship, which just wrapped up in St. Louis, featured the Girl Scout GENIUS team, which installed a rear-view camera and sensor system on a wheelchair to improve visibility and navigation.

I can't imagine what these girls will be inventing 10 years from now.