Morgan Rollins '17 Receives Grant for Prosthetics Research
Morgan Rollins '17, a biomechanical engineering major at Temple University, recently received a $4,000 Creative Arts, Research and Scholarship (CARAS) Program grant through Temple to be used for prosthetics research. The CARAS Program Grants provide undergraduate students at Temple up to $4,000 in support of scholarly, research or creative arts projects under the supervision of a Temple faculty member.
Rollins and her team are going to use the grant to help get their prosthetic prototype off the ground, with the goal of making the myoelectric prosthetic more affordable while remaining high-quality. While myoelectric prosthetics—externally powered artificial limbs that are controlled with the electrical signals generated naturally by muscles—typically cost $5,000 each, Rollins and her team are hoping to make four or five prosthetics with the $4,000 grant by being resourceful with the materials, using guitar strings for the tendons and 3D-printing many of the materials.
Influenced by her experiences in athletics, physics, anatomy and engineering, Rollins found a fascination in creating prosthetic limbs during her time at Tower Hill.
In her Accelerated Physics class junior year, she built a 3D-printed, voice activated prosthetic hand with Ben Spiro '16 (now a student at Miami University), and last year as a senior she developed a prosthetic leg as part of an independent study project with art teacher Richard Pierce.
“I wouldn’t be where I am without my experiences at Tower Hill,” Rollins said. “My first prosthetic was with Mr. Hoch and it taught me teamwork and how to fail hard. It also taught me how much goes into making a prosthetic, how it’s not just putting pieces together—it’s trying and failing and failing some more and then hopefully getting the pieces to fit.”