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Our Students Are Changing Lives


Posted 02/02/2016
Posted by Sophia Olsen


Five University students and their professor in the Prosthetics and Orthotics program have reached a milestone with a first-of-its-kind prosthetic hand. Pictured left to right: Yonatan Moshayev M’16, Jake Green M’16, Christopher Welch M’16, Amber Sayer M’16, Steve Sousa ’14, M’16, and Assistant Professor Michael Wininger.

Five University students and their professor in the Prosthetics and Orthotics program have reached a milestone with a first-of-its-kind prosthetic hand. Pictured left to right: Yonatan Moshayev M’16, Jake Green M’16, Christopher Welch M’16, Amber Sayer M’16, Steve Sousa ’14, M’16, and Assistant Professor Michael Wininger.



“This is a need and something I could have used from the very beginning.” That was the reaction from a person that does not have a hand when he saw a prototype of what has come to be known as the Hartford Hand. Five graduate students from the University’s Prosthetics and Orthotics (P&O) program have been so inspired by that statement that they’ve spent non-class hours working on the project that began in 2013 to make the world’s first prosthetic hand that can be fully customized to patients’ needs.

The project has reached an important milestone—the prototype is ready to be tested on patients. Currently, amputees have a limited selection of sizes and designs for a prosthetic hand. The groundbreaking Hartford Hand has a unique design that allows each patient to get a custom-made hand that fits his or her exact needs. And the hand can be adjusted as the patient grows.

“This has been one the best opportunities I have had in my life to design,” says Christopher Welch M’16, one of the students currently working on the Hartford Hand under the guidance of Prosthetics and Orthotics Assistant Professor Michael Wininger. Each week, Christopher and colleagues Yonathan Moshayev M’16, Jake Green M’16, Amber Sayer M’16, Stephen Sousa ’14, M’16 spend several hours improving the current design to make the unique Hartford Hand a reality for patients. “This is a good chance for students to train on cutting-edge technology,” says Wininger.

More than a great learning experience, the Hand Project prepares our students for future career success. “They have more training than any other students in the country,” Wininger says, “which makes them competitive for their residencies.” Additionally, Christopher and Stephen presented the Hartford Hand at a national conference in San Antonio, Texas, in 2015. “It was a fantastic trip, where we were able to get professional feedback and network with people in our field,” says Stephen. Christopher adds that everyone they talked to confirmed that there is a huge need for this hand. Both of them are planning to use the skills they have learned with this project to work in clinics after they graduate. “I am very grateful to have had this opportunity,” Stephen says. “I could not imagine a program without this great experience.” 

Five University students and their professor in the Prosthetics and Orthotics program have reached a milestone with a first-of-its-kind prosthetic hand. Pictured left to right: Yonatan Moshayev M’16, Jake Green M’16, Christopher Welch M’16, Amber Sayer M’16, Steve Sousa ’14, M’16, and Assistant Professor Michael Wininger.

Five University students and their professor in the Prosthetics and Orthotics program have reached a milestone with a first-of-its-kind prosthetic hand. Pictured left to right: Yonatan Moshayev M’16, Jake Green M’16, Christopher Welch M’16, Amber Sayer M’16, Steve Sousa ’14, M’16, and Assistant Professor Michael Wininger.