Enabling The Future

A Global Network Of Passionate Volunteers Using 3D Printing To Give The World A "Helping Hand."


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e-NABLING Hands Across The World

Over the past 2 years, we have watched this amazing “Thing” that is happening…this incredible giving spirit and generosity of our e-NABLE community – spreading across the globe like wildfire.

On the map above, each dot represents at least one hand recipient in that country.

We now know of 40 countries who have at least one recipient of an e-NABLE device that has either been donated to them, created for them by a loved one or who have made one for themselves.

We have no way of knowing exactly how many hands have been delivered due to the designs being shared open source and available to anyone that wants to download them and create them. We know that many people do not wish to go through the matching process because they have the skills and tools available to create one for someone on their own. We estimate that there are about 1500 devices out there in this great big world of ours and that number increases weekly!

It’s incredible what can happen when you share your ideas with each other!

Every week, we find new stories of more hands being created by people who have fallen in love with this maker movement and who have started their own groups who are helping us reach even further into places that may not have internet access that may not have heard of our wonderful community yet.

There are still many places we wish to reach and we hope that within the next year – we can update this page and this map to show a world where every country has encountered the gift of a Helping Hand from one of our volunteers.

Please feel free to join us in our Google+ community, follow us on Facebook and Twitter, sign up as a volunteer and ask questions in our Forums.

Together we can make a difference.

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Redhat, e-NABLE And Open Source Philosophies

The trailer for “e-NABLE: open technology, faster progress“, the second film in Red Hat‘s Open Source Stories Film series, premiered at Red Hat Summit 2015 on Wednesday morning during the general session.

Look for the full short documentary film later this summer!

“When we decided to tell the e-NABLE story, we thought we were telling a story about children and their parents finding affordable choices where there were none before because of new technology and open collaboration. That turns out to be just a small portion of the overall picture. What we found is the open source way in a hardware community, expanding what is possible. We found a research and development model that relied on users becoming designers, and a community committed to bringing different usable prototypes to smiling children in a matter of months. We found people from a variety of backgrounds who wanted to help those they’ve never met. We found a burgeoning open hardware maker community at the edge of disrupting an entire industry.”

During this event, they also held a 5K run where participants who donned their running shoes and helped to raise over $4800 that will be donated to the Enable Community Foundation to help us continue to provide free hands to those in need.

While our Google.org grant will provide us with funding to dig deeper into research and development, provide mini grants for research teams and help us create new designs – the e-NABLE Community is still in need of donations to help us hire full time staff to manage the ever growing and evolving community, recipient needs and help to put on more conferences and events where families, medical professionals and wounded warriors can be served!

Thank you Red Hat for your generous donation and for helping us to Make A Difference!



Looking Forward: the Google.org Grant and Goals

Three weeks ago, we announced that the Enable Community Foundation had been awarded a $600,000 grant from Google.org to scale the work that the e-NABLE community does.  Today we’d like to share a summary of what the ECF hopes to achieve with this funding, how the ECF plans to attain these goals, and how we will measure outcomes of these efforts.

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3D Systems And e-NABLE – Collaboration To Enable The Future


e-NABLE and 3D Systems team up to help enable even more lives around the world!

Today the Enable Community Foundation announced a new partnership with 3D Systems,  a leader in developing 3D Printing technologies.  With their support, we expect to bring new designs, new designers, and new educational opportunities to volunteers, recipients, and students.

The ECF partnered with 3D Systems as part of its mission to help the e-NABLE community spread our unique mix of high tech, high touch, volunteer, open-source humanitarianism around the world. 3DS has made an investment in our methods by developing a new open source hand design for the community to test, validate, and fork:  the K-1.

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Enable Community Foundation Graduates as a “Real” Non-profit

From a hotel room in Cambridge, MA, the day before my daughter graduated from MIT, I got this one-line email from one of our attorneys:

“Attached is the exemption letter which I received today.”

Exemption letter? As in, exempt from taxes? The result of the complicated 1023 form that we filed in April with hopes of hearing something within ninety days, if we were lucky, or six to eighteen months if unlucky?

“…we have determined that you are exempt from Federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Code. Contributions to you are deductible…”

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Thinking Outside Of The Box – Interview with Ivan Owen


Ivan Owen – demonstrating how to use repurposed drills and other components – to charge cell phones in disaster areas like Nepal.

Guest Blog Post
Written by Adam Kitz
Western Washington University, Bellingham WA

This last week I got to meet up with Ivan Owen, co-creator of the first 3D printed hand that was made for a 5 year old child in South Africa. He invited me to meet him at his lab at the University of WA Bothell. The University hired Ivan a little over a year and a half ago, to run their on-campus 3D print labs, mentor student led research teams and to manage and set up their growing makerspace and the equipment available to students and staff.

Ivan describes himself as an artist and a non-traditional engineer. The first hand he designed was not designed for anyone in particular, it was designed for fun as a functional prop hand for a costume. Unbeknownst to Ivan, his simple Large Mechanical Hand video on Youtube, would be the starting point for the global maker movement of e-NABLE Community volunteers that would come together to bring free 3D printed prosthetic hands to those in need.

Though Ivan designed the hand that started what would eventually become the base design for 3D printed hand devices, he is a modest man who prefers to take a back seat role at e-NABLE. With his main focus being to inspire a larger global impact type vision among others and his desire to enable others to succeed, his position at UW Bothell is perfect for him and allows him to help the next generation of young minds to see the broader impact that their designs and ideas can have on the world.

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Enable Community Foundation Awarded $600,000 Google.org Grant


We’re excited to announce that the Enable Community Foundation (ECF) has just been awarded a $600,000 grant by Google.org to support the mission of the e-NABLE community!  The grant is part of the 2015 Google Impact Challenge focused on disability.  With Google.org’s support we will systematically collect feedback and data from users and testers, organize global design challenges, and improve handomatic and develop other tools proving–and improving–our devices and our processes.  We also expect this to trigger a new wave of volunteers and recipients, so we are ramping up our efforts to get funding for operations that increase our ability to recruit, guide, and train volunteers.

As a volunteer network, we’re excited to put Google.org’s generous funding to use to increase the number of devices we are able to produce for people in need around the world. By broadening the magnitude of our work, we do have the additional challenges to help our volunteers with education, training and communication – so we are also seeking additional support to fuel our growth.

Please help us leverage the wonderful Google.org grant with your own contribution, no matter how small. Please consider visiting our Donate page and share your spare change today to help us continue to be able to “Enable The Future.”

“Because we now have unprecedented access to knowledge, to technology, and to fellow problem-solvers, we have new options for developing, sharing, and disseminating new solutions to challenging intractable problems.  The e-NABLE community has thrived by using communications and collaboration tools that are breathtakingly powerful, rapidly evolving and virtually free.  With Google.org’s direct support, we can do even more.”

— Ivan Owen, Board of Directors, Enable Community Foundation

The e-NABLE saga continues!

Official press release here.