5-year-old with one hand playing violin thanks to LeTourneau stu - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

5-year-old with one hand playing violin thanks to LeTourneau student's invention

Neriah Rhodes plays violin thanks to assistive device. Photo by Elizabeth Rhodes. Neriah Rhodes plays violin thanks to assistive device. Photo by Elizabeth Rhodes.
LONGVIEW, TX (KLTV) -

A LeTourneau University Student is making a 5-year-old Florida girl’s dream come true by helping her learn the violin. He’s not helping her with lessons; he has actually made it possible for her to hold the bow.

The little girl has no left hand, so a biomedical engineering student has made a device for her that will hold a violin bow. 

Believe it or not if you take a spool of plastic, melt and rearrange it with a 3D printer, you can come up with an assistive device that specifically suits one need for those missing an appendage, or at least Biomedical Engineering student Drew Miles did.

An email from a Florida violin instructor asked if LeTourneau students could design and:

“3D print a device that allows Neriah Rhodes to play the violin,” Miles said.

Miles thought several fellow students were volunteering.

“I then found out I was the only person doing the project,” Miles stated.

He was overwhelmed, so he prayed about it.

“I like to think of God as an engineer, and engineers use tools,” Miles said.

And miles thought of himself as the tool. He thought it would take maybe three months, but it took:

“About seven months,” Miles clarified.

But he and his professor Dr. Ko Sasaki wanted it to be perfect and:

“We designed it to where it could be donned with one hand,” Miles revealed.

So there were 15 prototypes printed, but finally a viable, and pliable design, although there is a stiffer version just in case.

And in Florida, Elizabeth Rhodes and her daughter Neriah tested several prototypes until the final one arrived, painted her favorite color: pink. And then she started fiddling around. Elizabeth said the device changed Neriah’s:

“Independence, and she wasn’t needing anybody to help her and it was pretty incredible,” Elizabeth said.

Elizabeth has a message for Drew.

“We could not thank you enough in words for what you’ve done for Neriah, who you’ve never met, and you probably will never meet her. And we get to benefit from your hard work and we are incredibly grateful for you,” Elizabeth relayed.

Viewing this story, like the rest of you, is the first time Drew is hearing that statement.

Earlier, also for the first time, he saw video of Neriah using the device. Neriah’s not ready for an orchestra yet, but her playing was music to all their ears.

Drew Miles made the device for Neriah for free. Neriah had been using another device, but the bow would pop out when too much pressure was applied.

Our sister station WTXL in Midway Florida provided us with the interview of Elizabeth and Neriah Rhodes.

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