The 3D Printed “Light Show Hand!”


“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited…Imagination encircles the world.” – Albert Einstein

Over the past year, the e-NABLE Google+ community has grown from 70ish people who had 3D printers and offered to make parts for those who needed hands created…to a global “Village” of nearly 1700 individuals who have come together to share their creativity, their ideas, their passions and their talents to help make 3D printed prosthetics for children and adults in need.

While we  continue to strive to make low cost and functional devices to share with the world …we are also discovering the power of our imaginations as we find ourselves remembering that these devices can be anything we want them to be…we do not have to be limited to the idea that they must look like “real” hands…they can become whatever it is that makes us feel beautiful and special.

We can be super heroes.
We can have 6 fingers.
We can have hands at the end of our elbows.
We can have card holders instead of fingertips.
We can have light shows living in our fingertips…

One of our e-NABLE volunteers, Debbie Leung, is continuously reminding us that the possibilities are endless when it comes to combining our imaginations with 3D printing.

We asked her to tell us a bit about herself and how she found her way to e-NABLE and she writes, “3D printing connected me to this community through the online printing website, I’ve been part of the e-NABLE community for three months.

I have been experimenting with 3D printing for a year. I am an electrical engineer working in the Semiconductor Industry. I am always interested in science, technology and innovations so I still keep myself updated with the latest news in those areas, even after I graduated from college and I read about 3D printing. I thought it was one of the most innovative, promising and accessible technologies that I could get my hands on to learn about. Then I attended a conference called “Inside 3D Printing” and bought a 3D printer, learnt 3D modeling and got more familiar with 3D printing through designing and making things. I have become a maker ever since I got my 3D printer.”

Debbie is an engineer in her field and does a lot of problem solving in microelectronics that go into luxury cars and smart phones. She uses all kinds of test equipment and tools to analyze circuits. She has been sharing her interesting and intriguing light show hands with the group for a while now and has been working on making something fun to share at our upcoming “Prosthetists Meet Printers” e-NABLE Conference at Johns Hopkins Hospital on September 28th. Well – she outdid herself this time!

Debbie shared a few thoughts with us about her goals and thoughts on e-NABLE: “I used to think it is cool to work in the field of consumer products until I found e-NABLE that does way more meaningful and beneficial works for people. So I found my new path. I want to help make hands for children and I want to develop assistive and wearable technology with electronics and sensors in the near future. 

Projects like myoelectric hands and exoskeletons are areas of my interest and they can evolve into wearable technology that can benefit normal people who work in heavy lifting and remotely controlled robots to do dangerous works. As I develop them, I want to share my works and discoveries with e-NABLE. I am very grateful that I finally found people who share my vision in this community.”

We asked her how these hands work and she writes: “The light show hand has a switch. All the RGB LED lights emit red, yellow, green, blue, magenta, cyan and white color in a sequence repeatedly. You switch the other side and the color sensor turns on and to detect red, green and blue by pushing against the side of the palm where color sensing components are located.”

This hand includes 3 components:

• Physical Design – Modifications on the palm with two little add on designs (Iron Man Arc Light and the e-NABLE heart hand shake logo), extra designs to put the components for the color sensor and battery holder, an extra hole on each finger and four extra holes on the palm were created, which allows each RGB with 4 wires to go in each finger and the palm.

• Two Adruino programs that run RGB LED lights in two ways.

• Electronics – Photoresistor, RGB LED Lights, resistors, a button, a switch, two Attiny85 parts and four button cell batteries.

And the inspiration continues.
Every. Single. Day.

Sometimes our designs are functional.
Sometimes they are just for fun.
But they always inspire someone else to explore their own imaginations and come up with something none of us have thought of before.

Do you want to join us and be part of this amazing community we are growing?
Please do – we would love to see what you have been hiding in your imaginations too!

Google+ – Click it.