3D printers have changed the face of a dozen industries now, ranging from sex toys and manufacturing to electronics and home building. 3D printing has also increased the availability of a number of space-age products and one of the most startling to some people is 3D printed prosthetic limbs produced and given away by e-NABLE.
e-NABLE is a community that uses 3D printing to create prosthetic hands. It began in 2013 as a community of about 300 people, and since then the group has worked with dozens of charities and a staggering amount of recipients. The result is that people now have access to robotic hands in a variety of designs.
What sort of designs are there?
e-NABLE is also on the cutting edge of geek culture, and as such it offers prosthetic hands in the latest fashions. Whether it’s a red, white, and blue number that calls out to the latest Captain America film, a limb in the style of a Star Wars storm trooper, or just something with a touch of steampunk e-NABLE can make that happen. Not only that, but it can make it happen at no charge to the recipient.
What makes 3D printed hands better?
Prosthetics have never been cheap, and hands are one of the more complicated types of limbs. 3D printing cuts the costs, and it makes producing these hands affordable (if not exactly cheap). Additionally, since every person’s body is different 3D printing allows for these hands to be made with precision to fit every recipient. The designs can be printed in a variety of styles, and it can be done as a cottage industry (or cottage charity in this case) which means it opens up the floor to anyone who wants to be a designer or a producer and who can afford the software and printer.