While we report on many stories of 3D printed prosthetics, from inspirational stories like super-hero themed prosthetics to students learning to 3D print prosthetics and helping others, we have not yet seen a parent taking the circumstances so directly into their own control–to make a hand for their child. The only question is why not? And certainly this will spark a trend in the future–at least we hope so.
Thanks to Gregg and Sam Dennison and the guidance and expertise offered by e-NABLE, eight-year-old Luke now has a 3D printed prosthetic hand. Taking on the technology of digital design and 3D printing, they were able to fabricate not one, but multiple prosthetics for their son, who now has access to his choice of hands to help him function more fully, despite being born with developing symbrachydactyly, a congenital abnormality of the hand. With his condition, prosthetics are generally not available, and the Dennisons were challenged to find help for Luke.
Connecting with e-NABLE was the catalyst for changing Luke’s life for the better–forever. e-NABLE was able to supply them with design files that they could customize to print five prosthetics, using an Ultimaker 2.
e-NABLE is an organization that we follow often and have written countless stories on–most especially their ongoing efforts to join together groups of volunteers to 3D print and assemble historical amounts of not only 3D printed items, but prosthetics. We’ve also followed their long-term and inspiration efforts to help those in need of prosthetics in Haiti. e-NABLE certainly knows what they are doing when it comes to creating 3D printable, customized, affordable prosthetics–and especially for kids.
e-NABLE works with over 5,000 volunteers from around the world who are using 3D printers everywhere to provide 3D printed prosthetics for those in need–and many who are in developing countries. They also often employ teams of volunteers to 3D print and assemble the prosthetics to be delivered to patients.
“Being able to provide someone with a new assistive hand device not only changes their life but also mine and everyone working with e-Nable,” says Aaron Brown, a volunteer with e-Nable. “E-Nable volunteers come together to create, innovate, re-design and give a ‘helping hand’ to those that need it – whether it is helping to print parts, creating a completed device for or simply helping to guide others as they build one themselves.”
The prosthetics the Cincinnati, Ohio couple were able to design for Luke can make a fist, pick up objects, and can of course with the power of 3D printing be customized in whatever sizes, designs, and colors Luke can imagine.
“I have my first hand, my second hand, my third hand, my fourth hand, and my fifth hand, which is this one [display in video, see below]. Now that I have this hand, I can bring it to school and show it off,” says Luke. “They think it’s really cool, and I tell them my dad made it.”
His parents report that he is doing more than most of us, out riding horses, playing catch with his dad, and staying extremely active, while being able to do all the fairly mundane and routine tasks that many take for granted. The eight-year-old is now fondly nicknamed, aptly, ‘Little Cool Hand Luke.’
“I feel a strong sense of pride as a father that my wife and I are able to provide our son with a new hand,” says Gregg Dennison. “Through e-Nable and our Ultimaker2 3D printer we are able to come up with a new hand whenever he needs one. Luke loves being able to pick the colors of his hand and show new designs off to his friends at school. E-Nable and Ultimaker have made it easy for us to give our son the life he deserves.”
We often write about projects that have been completed using the Ultimaker 2 3D printer, which was able to work for the Dennisons in producing precise, accurate 3D prosthetics with the obvious, required level of quality.
“Ultimaker is honored to be a part of this ground breaking movement in medical technology,” says Siert Wijnia, CEO of Ultimaker. “Our desktop 3D printers are the perfect tool for anyone to be able to print assistive hand devices at home with the help of e-Nable. Ultimaker is also excited to see where the organization takes the possibilities of 3D printed assistive devices in the future.”
The amount of good that e-NABLE is doing as a worldwide organization on so many levels is staggering. They are improving the qualities of those needing replacement limbs all over the world, creating a thriving world in 3D printing prosthetics, and through all these actions they have also shown the enormous validity of 3D printing in the world of medical devices.
Discuss your thoughts on the Dennison’s inspirational story in the 3D Printed Prosthetic Hands for 8-Year-Old forum thread over at 3DPB.com.