AMS Spring 2023

UNO! e-NABLED Boy Receives a 3D Printed ‘Card Playing’ Prosthetic Hand

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Over the course of the past several months, 3DPrint.com has covered numerous heart warming stories about an organization called e-NABLE; a group of volunteers who design, 3D print, and provide 3D printed prosthetic devices to individuals around the world. They mainly work with children, but have in some cases provided devices for adults as well.

Keegen's new hand

Keegen’s new hand

There are several models of 3D printed hands that e-NABLE has worked with, ranging from the popular Cyborg Beast, to the Talon Hand, Ody Hand, and more. They’ve even created an entire 3D printed arm for a little boy named Derek. These are all robotic hands/arms that are created using mostly 3D printed parts, after precise measurements of the patient are received. The hands operate by using cables that connect through each finger and then connect again at the wrist area. When the wrist is bent, the cables are pulled, thus bending the hand’s fingers.

These 3D printed prosthetic hands are very useful, and in many cases work better than the traditional $50,000+ prosthetic devices on the market today. They function very well, and allow their users to grasp objects with quite a bit of force. Kids have been able to throw and catch balls, pick up relatively heavy items, and simply gain access to the use of two hands, in some cases for the very first time in their lives.  While these hands are very gratifying for their users, they still can not do everything that a real human hand can. For example, handing a deck of cards. One issue that arises when playing card games, is that the hands don’t have the ability to constantly hold playing cards tightly, and in a way that they can be maneuvered easily during a game.

Keegen and his new hand

Keegen and his new hand

A lady named Nancy, and her son Keegen were the beneficiaries of a 3D printed prosthetic hand, earlier this month, from the e-NABLE group. While that hand is still being adjusted so that Keegen can gain use for everyday activities, Nancy also made another very unique request of e-NABLE.

“I was wondering if anyone has come up with a design so that the kids could hold cards,” asked Nancy to the volunteers of e-NABLE late last week. “Keegen always has a difficult time playing Uno, Go Fish and more because he can’t see all of his cards at once. He keeps them in a pile and has to look through it every turn. It would be really cool and functional.”

It wasn’t long before the wonderful volunteers at e-NABLE came up with a solution

“I would be glad to design something,” responded e-NABLE member Bob Roth. “This is the type of project that I want to help with. You could get him one of those circular card holders two and a half inches in diameter. you can fasten it to his socket and he could hold his cards in his hand. I’ve seen them in stores. you could fasten it with a Velcro strap”

Roth’s idea was put into actions, and wallah!! Keegen had a new card-holding prosthetic hand, in only a few hours. Nancy took the fingers off of the traditional 3D printed Cyborg Beast hand, and attached the card holder using Velcro and hot glue. The hand worked just right, and Keegen is happy with it.

This goes to show how wondeful the e-NABLE group really is. There are now over 1,000 members, all working to try and create the best 3D printed prosthetic devices for as many people in need as they can. The card-holding hand will certainly be modified and used again on multiple occasions, just like all of the other designs that have been created.

Now, how about the ‘baseball mitt hand’ or the ‘bowling hand’? Who knows what e-NABLE will come up with next?  Discuss Keegen’s prosthetic card-playing hand in the 3D printed prosthetic forum on 3DPB.com.

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