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Dover grad creates prosthetic device so fifth-grader can play violin

| June 10, 2024
From left, County Commissioner Kristin Zemis, Emily Springer, her son Aiden Springer, and County Commissioners Greg Ress and Chris Abbuhl. The commissioners recognized Aiden at a meeting June 3.

NEW PHILADELPHIA (WJER) (June 10, 2024) – A recent Dover High School graduate spent part of his senior year crafting a prosthetic device that allows a young musician born without a right hand to play the violin.

That project earned Aiden Springer an official proclamation of congratulations from the Tuscarawas County Commissioners on June 3.

“We want to wish you all the best for your future and thank you for your big heart,” the proclamation read.

Springer, who plans to attend the University of Akron to study engineering, played several instruments in the band and orchestra and was in Dover’s Project Lead the Way engineering class.

He says Dover High Orchestra Director David Rutter approached him at the beginning of the year with the idea to create a device to allow a fifth-grader to hold a violin bow.

“Mr. Rutter definitely deserves more credit than he gets because he was actually the one that had the idea for the basic design,” Spring said, describing Rutter as “very smart.”

“He came to me and even made a little sketch for me and was like, ‘Maybe do something like this.’”

Springer completed the challenge this spring using school resources including a 3-D printer.

“We just created a device that holds onto the bow for him and it straps around his wrist like a watch band,” Springer said. “It has the bearings in the middle that lets it rotate which allows the bow to stay straight while his arm moves back and forth and simulate kind of the flex that a wrist would give.”

This was Springer’s PLTW showcase project, which won second place at Buckeye Career Center last month.

He shared a video of the fifth-grader playing for the first time.

“He looked pretty excited. He starts giggling halfway through the video,” Springer said.

Springer, the son of Emily and Nathan Springer, graduated from Dover last month but continued performing with the jazz and steel drum bands in concerts at Dover’s Deis Hill and New Philadelphia’s Tuscora Park. He arranged a steel drum band song performed at those shows.

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