Mar 9, 2016 | By Kira

Nini, a young woman in Indonesia, had lost all of the fingers on her right hand in an accident at the plastic factory where she worked. To make matters worse, she was expecting a child, and worried that without the use of her hand, she would struggle to perform even the most basic tasks, such as holding, feeding, and caring for her newborn. A few months before delivery, a team of five volunteers, led by e-NABLE member Christian Schild, pulled together to make her a custom 3D printed hand, giving both mother and daughter a chance at a better quality of life.

e-NABLE is a global, volunteer-based organization that provides custom-made, 3D printed hands and limbs for children and their families who need them most. While traditional prosthetics can be prohibitively expensive, the e-NABLE community strives to ensure that every single person, regardless of their age, race, gender, or socioeconomic class, can receive the care they need via affordable and accessible 3D printed prosthetics. Though Schild was not originally a member of e-NABLE, nor was he familiar with 3D printing technology, a domino-effect of goodwill eventually led him to know Nini’s story, and he became determined to help.

A member of the Rotary Club, Jakarta Sentra, Schild primarily worked with patients in who were affected leprosy, a chronic infection disease that affects nearly 2-3 million people worldwide, with the most common cases in India, Brazil, Nigeria and Indonesia. During his work, he met and treated a man named Ali Sage.

Once Sage recovered his health, he immediately wanted to return the favor and help others in need. He thus opened a prosthesis workshop in a small Indonesian village, where he received innumerable requests for prosthetics from people who simply could not afford to make or purchase their own. One of these was the young expecting mother, Nini.

Simultaneously, Schild’s son Luke had come across a social media video of a child receiving a 3D printed hand. Not only are 3D printed prosthetics more lightweight and comfortable than traditional ones, but they are also exponentially less expensive to create, and can be made locally from available materials. Schild and Sage put the pieces together, and decided to 3D print a prosthetic hand for Nini. Schild’s wife, Trisweni Astuti, also joined the team, offering her translation services to make the process as smooth as possible.

Though Indonesia is still a dramatically underserved region, with little access to advanced manufacturing technologies particularly in rural areas, Schild was able to locate a few local 3D printing companies to help. “Through my research, I found out that at the beginning of August, an Office Machine Exhibition was held here in Jakarta, including information about 3D printers. There were 5 companies promoting 3D printers and materials, so I spoke with some of them about this project,” he explained.

“It started with Heri Kristanto of PT Indoprint in Surabaya, who offered to make one hand. Shortly after this, I was called by Wadi Chan of 3D Solution here in Jakarta. Wadi has a 3D printing business and is very familiar with the technology and suggested we make a Raptor/Osprey hand.”

Despite having located the necessary 3D printers, it still took the team nearly two months to create the prosthetic hand. This is because they had difficulty gathering the required materials to 3D print and assemble the device. Nevertheless, the 3D printed prosthetic was ready early enough that Nini was able to practice with it before the arrival of her daughter in December, 2015.

As the video below shows, not only can Nini hold her beautiful newborn, but she can also hold a bottle to feed her, sort through clothes, and perform a variety of other tasks necessary both for her and the child’s wellbeing. This simple, cost-effective, 3D printed hand is far more than a piece of plastic—it is a symbol of just how far acts of goodwill can go when provided with the necessary technological resources, such as 3D printing.

Having successfully helped Nini, Schild and his team hope to continue providing 3D printed prosthetics to others in need: “This will be a great help for many people who have lost their hands. 3D printing is still new here in Indonesia and not many companies are doing this kind of work. Together with Heri, Wadi, Ali and Trisweni, we hope to be able to extend the production of the hands into more regions in Indonesia in the future. Our aim is to promote and arrange seminars and training programs for more people to be able to make these 3D printed hands.”



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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