Since its launch in 2013, the community has delivered hundreds of open-source, 3D printed prosthetics to recipients in over 37 countries and that number is only set to increase following a huge grant from tech giant Google.
As part of its $20 million Google Impact Challenge focused on disabilities, Enable Community Foundation has been awarded $600,000 Google.org Grant
Funding to support further development and assessment of the e-NABLE community's 3D-printed prosthetics and collaboration practices.
"We created the Enable Community Foundation to support the fast-growing community of volunteers now known around the world as e-NABLE", said Foundation president Jon Schull. "Google.org's support will allow us to improve-- and to prove--our products and our processes."
Google Impact Challenge.
Traditional approaches to prosthetics are often expensive and time-consuming and for children who quickly outgrow them. The e-NABLE community leverages open source research and design, crowd-sourced fabrication and customization to produce affordable prosthetics for children and adults that can be tailored to their needs and manufactured quickly and cheaply.
Schull, added: "We think the e-NABLE community's products and practices are a potential model for other ventures that can inspire digital humanitarians to use emerging technologies to develop innovative solutions for underserved populations. Google.org has challenged us to test that idea, and given us the resources to do it, even as we continue to serve volunteers and recipients."
The Enable Community Foundation will use the funding to accelerate research and development through strategic partnerships, global design challenges, and to develop free and open source self-service software such as Handomatic which empowers individuals and groups to use, and to further develop, e-NABLE's inexpensive prosthetic solutions.
e-Nable's growing Google Plus community already counts nearly 5,000 volunteers, over 3,500 of which have signed up to help 3D print and change children's lives by enabling them to play sports and even turning them into real-life superheroes.
Ivan Owen, one of the Enable Community Foundation's directors commented; “This opens the door to more flexible models for developing ideas and discovering unique solutions to unique problems, including the ability for people to work together even when they are an incredible distance apart. Our community has thrived as a result of powerful communications tools like Google Hangouts. It is a truly wonderful thing to now have Google’s direct support. As has always been the case with the e-NABLE community, by working together we can do more than we could ever dream of doing on our own."