Apr 27, 2017 | By Tess

A group of students from George Mason University in Virginia have given 10-year-old Isabella Nicola Cabrera a chance at realizing her dream of becoming a violinist with the help of a specially designed 3D printed prosthetic.

Despite being born with only half her left arm and no left hand, Isabella, a fifth-grader from Alexandria, VA, has dreamed of learning to play the violin. Fortunately for her, the 10-year-old has had much support in realizing her dream, both from her music teacher at Island Creek Elementary and a team of dedicated students from the George Mason University’s bioengineering department.

Isabella’s music teacher first built her a prosthetic that enabled her to move a violin bow with her left arm and to hold its strings with her right fingers. Though the prosthetic was functional, it was quite heavy for the young girl, making it difficult to use. It was at that point that her music teacher reached out to his alma mater George Mason University to see if any current students were up to the task of making a bespoke prosthetic.

Sure enough, a team of five bioengineering students, including Ella Novoselsky, Racha Salha, Mona Elkholy, Yasser Alhindi, and Abdelrahman Gouda, took on the challenge of designing and 3D printing a prosthetic that would enable Isabella to play her violin. The project even became the team’s senior year capstone project.

After a few different prototypes and several design tweaks (i.e. reducing the weight, making it as comfortable as possible, etc.), the bioengineering students were able to deliver a 3D printed violin prosthetic fit for the ambitious 10-year-old. Weighing in at only 12 ounces, the final 3D prosthetic, dubbed VioArm, is stunning bright pink with sparkles—one of Isabella’s specifications.

Isabella was fitted with her new 3D printed prosthetic last week and was overjoyed with her new playing ability. With the help of Elizabeth Adams, a violin/viola professor at the George Mason School of Music, Isabella even managed to play some simple scales, including “Ode to Joy” and “Twinkle Twinkle” using her new hot pink limb.

Understandably, everyone involved in the project,