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E-nabling the Future

open source, 3D-printed prosthetics

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#1 TantumBull



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Posted 09 October 2014 - 02:52 PM

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This really cool movement was recently brought to my attention through a mechanical engineering class I take at the University of Washington. To give you a quick rundown, the movement essentially consists of 1000+ volunteers worldwide, designing, testing, and producing affordable prosthetic hands for those who can't afford commercial models, which start around 40K for basic models. It's based around the increasing affordability of 3D printing paired with the internet's ability to connect people from all over the world. I have the luxury of attending a class that is taught in part by Ivan Owen, the man who started it all.

Ivan is pretty much a genius, with no formal education, who came up with an innovative solution for the many, many people worldwide who suffer from a loss of fingers and can't afford conventional prosthetics. Rather than patenting the idea, Ivan decided to licence it under a Creative Commons Licence, so the plans would be made public to anybody who wanted them and no money for personal gain could be made off of his creation.

If I typed out all the amazing things there are to know about Ivan and his movement no one would read this post because it would be way too dense. So I will link you to relevant information.

Ivan's Story - The story of how he started with nothing, and collaborated with a South African man to start the movement.
The video that started it all - Referred to in the above Tedx video, really got the ball rolling.
E-nabling the Future Blog - News and showcases of different models and iterations that tinkerers, like much of yourselves, have come up with.
Get Involved! - Page from the blog that explains how to get involved, with relevant information and links.
Ivan's Youtube Channel - There's all sorts of neat stuff on here, not just related to prosthetic hands. Ivan, like many of us, is a tinkerer at heart and loves to make awesome stuff.

After talking to this guy for a bit, it's very clear to me that this guy loves the whole super hero aspect of the mechanical hand. I'm sure adding nerf rails or something like that would make these kids feel like even more like the little badasses that they are with their mechanical hands. I have plans to design a palm light to play up the Iron Man appeal. I hope at least some of you also get involved - there are many skilled people on here with knowledge and expertise that could prove very useful.
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#2 pop tart

pop tart


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Posted 09 October 2014 - 05:15 PM

Hmmm... I see an airtank/small plunger getting put in one of these sometime soon.

But really, this is actually really cool and a nice, beneficial-to-society application of 3D printing that is obvious and easy for the public and media to see. I hope this thing really takes off.
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#3 Jeef



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Posted 09 October 2014 - 11:32 PM

My Programming class has been discussing 3D printed hands. I look forward to showing the class some of the links you provided thanks. I would like to get involved but don't have the resources to help. I'll find a way.
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