Monday, August 5, 2019

UATP joins “Enabling the Future” to provide affordable 3D printed prosthetics

Dan makes a heart shape with his hand and a 3D printed prosthetic hand
Logan UATP Coordinator Dan O'Crowley
The Utah Assistive Technology Program is now a volunteer on the Enabling the Future network, a worldwide organization of volunteers dedicated to providing 3D printed prosthetic arms and hands to people who need them.

“We provide all of the time and expertise, but we charge for what the materials cost,” said Dan O’Crowley, UATP’s Logan coordinator.

For example, the “Iron Man” hand (pictured here) was printed at the Logan location for $50. That includes the plastic material used in printing and the finger gel tips—available from any office supply store—that give the device some grip.

“If people have insurance and they can purchase a prosthesis, it would probably be best to do that and just customize the device,” O’Crowley said. But 3D printing offers some possibilities to people who cannot afford a device or whose needs are not covered by insurance. They also have their own custom-designed coolness factor.

“The kids enjoy wearing them and the other kids in the class accept them wearing the designs,” Crowley said.

Enabling the Future’s designs are intended for people with a functional elbow. “We are willing to work with peole who don’t fit those requirements,” O’Crowley said. “We’ve already done that, we are doing it.”

The advantage of using the network: lots of existing designs and access to network expertise. Members can access files for printing, use the web-based platform where they can upload photos and connect with other people in the network, and follow a set process for printing a device.

Do you need a hand? Contact Dan O’Crowleyor visit the “need a hand”page on the Enabling the Future website!

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