e-NABLE continues to expand its presence around the world, thanks to generous 3D printing companies.
Enable The Future Network
If you haven’t heard of Enable The Future Network, it is a non-profit international organization that leverages 3D printing tech to provide prosthetics for children. This is in fact a sweet spot for 3D printing applications, as the technology is well-suited to the problem.
Child amputees faced huge costs in acquiring traditionally constructed prosthetics, which seem to be priced for profit, rather than access. In many cases, particularly in poorer countries, child amputees simply cannot afford modern prosthetics, and it’s even worse when you realize that children tend to grow, and within a year two their expensive prosthetic no longer fits.
Amputee 3D Printing
Enter 3D printing, where 3D models can be easily scaled and cheaply produced to provide a precise fit for the wearer. When the child outgrows the 3D printed prosthetic, another larger one is produced. The smaller prosthetic can be passed on to younger children, or even have its material recycled for 3D printing.
Support for this concept was high among 3D printing companies, and this resulted in the formation of the global Enabling the Future Network, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing this service to deserving children worldwide. Since its inception, e-NABLE has worked with a number of organizations and companies to achieve their goals.
Now, we find that there’s a new partnership: Smart International, the company behind the KODAK brand of professional 3D printers, is partnering with the network to provide services in Medellín, Colombia.
e-NABLE Medellín is the arm of the Enabling the Future Network in that region, and they’ve received significant support from Smart International. They explain:
“Through 3D printing, e-NABLE is able to produce a prosthetic in as little as two weeks, with it costing significantly less in materials than traditional prosthetic limbs. With the help of a team of engineers, doctors, and volunteers, e-NABLE has been able to donate 55 assistive devices. By donating a KODAK Portrait 3D Printer, Smart International will contribute to e-NABLE Medellin’s objective to give more prosthetics to those in need in Colombia.
Specifically, the KODAK 3D Printer will allow e-NABLE to print more complex parts that utilize materials such as Nylon, ABS and other advanced polymers. In particular, e-NABLE is improving on its initial 3D-printed leg prosthetic prototype and is exploring the idea of PVA-based structures for cellular growth. The aim is to develop the design and capabilities of prosthetics, with the possibility to adapt the devices to their recipients’ needs, and in addition, develop open-source GCodes, to freely share the technology with the people who need it most.”
Why Medellín? It turns out, and I did not know this, that Colombia is the second-most land-mined country on the planet, leading to a high possibility of children being injured through accidental encounters with hidden mines. Apparently there have been an incredible 11,700 victims of such accidents, many of them children.
Smart International’s donation allows a slim percentage of those injured to receive advanced prosthetics that may make their lives a bit easier.
Roberto Gawianski, CEO, Smart International, said:
“We are so pleased to have the opportunity to work with e-NABLE Medellin and support them in their ongoing, innovative, work to bring prosthetics to those in need. The e-NABLE Medellin team has a strong commitment to 3D printing research and development, and Smart International are excited to assist them in producing some remarkable new technologies.”
Sponsoring Enable The Future Network
The actions of Smart International in this case are commendable, but my thoughts are now about other 3D printing companies who each could very easily perform similar donations in many other places. There’s even a place for you to donate directly to e-NABLE Medellín, if you wish.
If you have some authority at your 3D print company, consider doing a donation similar to Smart Internationals.
It’s not that hard to do.