School project helps student walk

Seth Follmer (left), Sarah Byrd
Seth Follmer (left), Sarah Byrd

ARMOREL, AR (KAIT) - What started as a school project is now helping a high school student walk.

A student in the EAST Lab at Armorel High School put the final touches on an insole that will help a senior at the school walk comfortably in any shoe she wants.

Tenth-grader Seth Follmer inherited a 3D printing project from his friend and former classmate.

"The whole first week of school she did nothing but train me on all these programs and the 3D printing," Follmer said. "I had no experience."

About a year and a half later, it's finished and in Sarah Byrd's shoe.

"Every time, I would always come in and check and see if they were finished," Byrd said.

Byrd was born with congenital bilateral clubbed feet.

Her father said she has undergone several surgeries since she was six months old.

One foot is mostly corrected, but her other foot still requires support.

Byrd has tennis shoes specifically designed to help her walk more easily.

But this insole lets Byrd show off her style.

"It makes me feel happy so I don't have to wear my tennis shoes all the time and show off my different shoes," Byrd said.

Follmer said he's always been interested in engineering, but seeing how this project has helped Byrd definitely pulled him in that direction even more.

"It's very rewarding and it makes me very happy to be able to print something for someone else and to give them something that they need and to be able to make that for them," Follmer said

It wasn't always an easy road, but knowing the importance of getting it right kept Follmer going until he finished.

"It helps me so I can walk better," Byrd said.

Follmer presented this project at a conference earlier this month, where he was named one of three finalists.

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