Saddleback College students are gaining real world experience in creating devices through a collaboration with Swift Engineering that benefits e-NABLE, a group of volunteers from across the globe that use 3D printers to create free prosthetics for those in need. Advanced manufacturing, computer science, and engineering students started creating the upper limb assistive devices under the mentorship of a Swift Engineering engineer and faculty from Saddleback College. Saddleback students are using in a variety of materials, including durable nylon, ABS, PLA, and TPU, in the making of the devices. Students download files of the pre-designed hands and arms and then print the devices using the 3D printers in the Advanced Manufacturing Lab.
Janet Yergler, a quadruple amputee, shared with the students about her journey through recovery with the aid of prosthetics and their functions and limitations. The students gained a better appreciation for learning from the end users on how their needs can be heard and incorporated into the 3D CAD design and prototype processes. Janet’s certified prosthetist, Ken Hung, also came out to speak with the students, bringing in his technical expertise to promoted a historical understanding of the use of 3D printing and mold-making in the creation of conventional and high-tech prosthetics. Under the guidance of Swift Engineering and Saddleback faculty, students are currently researching and creating their own design by integrating Arduino Uno technology with a sensor that detects electrical activity of muscles to control robotic hand movements of the device. They will also be creating a silicon mold around the device to make it look more like a human hand and to improve the gripping function.