3ders.org – E-NABLE connects makers to create 3D printed prosthetics for those in need | 3D Printer News & 3D Printing News

Posted: 26February2014 in Uncategorized

E-NABLE connects makers to create 3D printed prosthetics for those in need

Feb.25, 2014

19-year-old Peregrine Hawthorn from Seattle was born without fingers on his left hand. But in 2013 he learned how to 3D print and build an affordable mechanical set of his own. Today he is working with e-NABLE, an online community of 3D printing hobbyists to create and improve affordable custom prosthetics for those in need.

Created by Jon Schull, a researcher at Rochester Institute of Technology, e-NABLE pairs children and adults with missing or deformed fingers, hands or forearms with makers who produce customized 3D printed prostheses that can improve their lives.

“A typical prosthetic hand from a company will run you more than $10,000, but materials for a 3D printed hand can cost less than $50,” said Schull. “All you need is someone with access to a 3D printer that is willing to donate their time.”

In 2011, Richard Van As and Ivan Owen teamed up to design and build prosthetic hands for growing children using low-cost 3D printing. Schull noticed that although many engineers around the world were creating these one-off prosthetics for local people, there was no mechanism for developing and distributing their efforts.

Schull then created e-NABLE, originally as an interactive online map for connecting 3D printing hobbyists who would volunteer to help people with special needs. Today, e-NABLE has more than 300 members from all over the world offering help to others, Paul McCarthy which has created a functioning prosthetic hand for his son Leon.

Through the E-NABLE platform members guide new makers in the building process and will prints parts for those that need them. Members also post open source design files for hands and others offer suggestions to improve their devices.

For example this Talon 2.2 below is one of the newest versions of the 3D printed prosthetic hand built by Peregrine Hawthorn and his father. It features plastic fingers controlled by flexing the wrist, which pulls on cable “tendons” to close around a desired object.

“Every week we see makers pairing up and working with people who ask for help,” said Schull. “Sometimes members create small parts or whole devices for people, while others are simply guiding individuals as they build one themselves.”

On March 1, Schull will travel to the Science Online Conference in Raleigh, N.C., to discuss Creating Collaborations across the Wide World with the Web, with Nick Parker, a high school student from Silicon Valley and a builder in the e-NABLE group.

“I see e-NABLE as a crowd-sourced pay-it-forward network for design, customization and fabrication of all sorts of assistive technologies,” said Schull. “This is a scalable model that could go way beyond 3D printed prosthetic hands.”

via 3ders.org – E-NABLE connects makers to create 3D printed prosthetics for those in need | 3D Printer News & 3D Printing News.

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