One of the problems with technology is that especially when it first becomes available, many of those that would benefit from it cannot afford it. So while there are many new great options becoming available for amputees, those that don’t have access to funds are unable to benefit. This is why when a $50 dollar option for a printed mechanical hand is offered to the medical world, it should be embraced and supported.

The E-Nable project is truly amazing. It is a network of over 1500 volunteers dedicated to helping provide affordable 3D printed prosthetics for those that can otherwise not afford the multi-thousand dollar ticket that many prosthetics cost. From 3D printing companies to robotics companies to doctors, this project has a worldwide growing network of people willing to design and contribute to low cost prosthetics for amputees. Crowdfunding and generous donations have also contributed to the cause.

In addition to listing participants that can contribute resources or services, the site offers a number of open source designs available so that those with access to a 3D printer can print and assemble their own hand and finger prostheses.  Currently Included are more basic options, as well as those with myoelectric capabilities. Each option provides open source software and video tutorials on how to assemble. The various options accommodate different types of amputations, for those at the wrist or fingers. There is even an prosthetic for a partial finger amputation, the Owen Replacement Finger.

I cannot fully describe everything involved in this project, please visit the site.  The project will hold its first conference titled “Prosthetists meet Printers” on September 28th, 2014 at Johns Hopkins Hospital to involve more of the medical community and introduce them to the options that are available to their underprivileged patients. This will include physician Dr. Albert Chi, a renowned trauma surgeon at the hospital who has been involved in the project.

To donate supplies or funds, click here.

Below is a sample of one of the instructional videos available, in this case it is the Cyborg Beast :