e-NABLE founder Jon Schull with one of the recipients of a 3D printed arm.

e-NABLE founder Jon Schull with one of the recipients of a 3D printed arm.

If we were to pick out a topic, an organization or a theme that we covered the most in 2014, there is no doubt that e-NABLE would top all of those lists. e-NABLE, for those of you living in the middle of the woods for the past year, with no TVs newspapers or computers, is a group of volunteers who have gathered together in order to make the lives of those individuals with missing limbs, a bit more fulfilling. Living without a hand or an arm can be very challenging, although many of these amazing people can do just as much, if not more than their 2-armed counterparts. We have seen members of e-NABLE 3D print prosthetic hands and arms for children all over the world. These hands have been customized in more ways than one, including the creation of superhero hands, commando style hands, hands with built-in light shows, and even card-playing hands, all created by volunteers of e-NABLE.

The volunteers consist of children, adults, boy scouts, the rich, the poor, and even world-renown surgeons. Even though it seems as though e-NABLE has been flourishing for years, 2014 was really when the group began to take shape and see the majority of its growth.

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Some of the major accomplishments for e-NABLE in 2014 include:

  • Growing from 200 members all the way to over 3200.
  • Creating over 700 prosthetic hands for those in need.
  • Growing from having just one hand design to over over ten unique designs.
  • Going from being relatively unknown within the field of education to having over a dozen schools incorporate prosthetic hand designs, via 3D printing, into their classrooms.

On top of this, e-NABLE released their “Hand-o-matic” software in 2014, which allows virtually anyone with a 3D printer to size and 3D print the hand that they need. 2014 also brought recognition to e-NABLE via a video by Google depicting the year’s “top searches” (seen below at around the 1:09 mark).

e-NABLE had the opportunity to show off their 3D printed hands on a large stage at many events, and they also were the recipients of several awards. At the same time, they managed to form partnerships with many well known individuals and organization such as Dr. Albert Chi of John Hopkins Medical Center, the Open Hand Project, Limitless Solutions and more.

“In the last year, we’ve gone from an idea of a community that can make hands, to a 3200 person community that’s made perhaps 700 hands, that seems to be growing steadily by about 1-5% per week, and it continues to go strong,” said e-NABLE founder Jon Schull. “It’s not clear what the limits to this are, and I will predict that a year from now, it’s still not going to be clear what the limits to this are, but our achievements are going to be that much greater.”

Without a doubt, e-NABLE is the feel-good story of the year when it comes to 3D printing. It has really been amazing what they have accomplished in 2014, and I have a feeling 2015 will provide for another laundry list of incredible stories and people who will see their lives improve thanks to this amazing group of volunteers. Be sure to check out the year-in-review video by e-NABLE below, and let us know your thoughts in the e-NABLE forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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