Headlines: Student Printed 3D Prosthetics at the Open Lab

Headlines: Student Printed 3D Prosthetics at the Open Lab


Hi, I’m Maddie McCrea. My major is
mathematical biology. My name is William Hinson. I’m the emerging technology
specialist for the Open Lab at the University of Pittsburgh Center for
Teaching and Learning. I’m not really sure how my interest in prosthetics arose
but I’ve always just thought it was really amazing how people could be
active with a prosthetic leg or an arm. So I’ve always been researching
prosthetic hands and trying to keep up with new advancements. I never thought I’d be able to make a prosthetic hand and then I realized that
there’s 3D printers here. What 3D printing does is it lets you think about
the objects and the tools that you’re using and maybe come up with ways to
customize them or create tools that don’t exist. So the first thing that
Maddie printed in the lab was a prototype prosthetic hand for an
organization named e-Nable. They help find patients who are in need of
prosthetics. The client that I found is actually living in the Philippines
and he’s missing two fingers. I actually made a glove that has two fingers
attached to it so he’s not getting a full hand. And I sent it, it’s on the way
right now, and they’ll fit it to his hand and then let me know how it goes from
there. Having a student actually come to us and produce one of these working
prosthetic models was very exciting. Finding someone who needs a prosthetic
is amazing. Knowing you can help them with something you’re
interested in, too–it’s just such a great opportunity. When I come back here in the
fall I want to continue printing them out and finding more people who need
them. Obviously again there’s no requirement for a project to be
life-changing to come and work on it here in the Open Lab. But these sorts of
possibilities are out there. What we want to focus on is getting as many people
access to this production technology as possible so that people have an
understanding of what it can do and then they can think of their own way to help
improve their own lives or other people’s lives through that. If you’re
interested in using a 3D printer, you can request a consultation through our
website at teaching.pitt.edu/open-lab. There is a button on there that
you can use to request a consultation with one of our specialists.

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