Two senior students at Duke University are pushing the boundaries of both prosthetics and 3D printing. As the co-founders of Duke’s eNABLE chapter, a group of volunteers that create prosthetics through 3D printing, engineering students Richard Beckett-Ansa and Henry Warder have been innovating for some time now. Yet their most recent collaboration – a prosthetic hand with increased mechanical features, including exchangeable tools that perform different functions – has put the student group on the map in a whole new way.
Kaylyn McGuyrt, a 26-year-old cake decorator at a bakery in Wake Forest, North Carolina, was recently put in touch with Beckett-Ansa and Warder due to her unique needs. After losing her arm in an ATV accident over a year ago, McGuyrt has tried three different prosthetics with little to no success. As is the case with many prosthetics on the market, McGuyrt was frustrated with the limited range of functionality available, causing her difficulty with key work-related tasks such as using a rolling pin or opening large fridges.
Thanks in large part to a sizeable donation from open source software giant Red Hat Inc, Beckett-Ansa and Warder are now designing a new, improved prosthetic for McGuyrt that will assist the cake decorator in her work and other daily tasks. The customized prosthetic hand will be equipped with various attachments, with each attachment specially designed for the completion of a different task.
“They’re really sweet. They’re very accommodating,” McGuyrt said of the Duke eNABLE chapter. “I’m excited to see the final product.”
The eNABLE group is currently hosted in the Duke Innovation Co-Lab, which is equipped with over 60 3D printers. As the home to 40 Ultimaker 2 3D printers alone, the Co-Lab houses the highest concentration of these consumer 3D printers in the world. “They just line the walls,” Becket-Ansa said. “It’s insane.”
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