Journal of Undergraduate Research


children, congenital limb deficiency, product design


Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering and Technology


School of Technology


Congenital Limb Deficiency (CLD) occurs when a fetus’s upper or lower limbs do not form completely during pregnancy. This project analyzes how girls aged seven to thirteen years with upper-limb CLD adjust to daily tasks and supports the design of a mechanism to help them perform a specific activity independently. Early research became the foundation for a case study of an eight-year old girl named Ava. Ava was born with only one elbow-length cleft hand on her right side and one finger connected to her left shoulder joint . She learns to use her “nubs” effectively for most tasks, such as putting on shoes, opening doors, and manipulating scissors to open packaged food. However, certain activities still cause her strain and stress—specifically, her inability to style her own hair. Hair styling is an important task for a young girl that is nearly impossible to do with Ava’s condition. The following research confirmed this need and prompted the creation of Ava Band, a ponytail-making device.