Maddie's Arm

One of the coolest organizations I've had the chance to work with is E-nabling the Future. They work with engineers, designers, and 3d-printing hobbiests to provide low-cost prosthetic arms for anyone who needs them.

At the Rehabiliation and Neuromuscular (ReNeu) Robotics Lab, I met Maddie, who had a recent amputation and was interested in 3d-printing a temporary replacement. In just 2 weeks, a labmate and I customized, printed, and assembled an E-Nable design that Maddie could use to help with daily activities. Now she has a state-of-the-art robotic hand, but the 3d-printed version helped for 4 months or so before she could get that.

Open state of prosthetic

There are elastic bands around each knuckle that keep the fingers open at a resting position. When the elbow is flexed, however, cables pull the fingers closed into a grasping pose.

Many of the parts in this arm were printed flat and then thermoformed into a shape that matches the contour of a forearm. This increased print quality, strength, and comfort.

Prosthetic is printed flat on the build plate Closed state of prosthetic

Special thanks to my labmate Taylor for helping me! This project ended up catching some media attention - here's an article written in the engineering magazine.