UWM prints 3-D hands for Mexican children’s hospital

Sixty-seven 3-D-printed prosthetic hands are on the way to children in Mexico thanks in part to UW-Milwaukee Associate Professor Frankie Flood.

Microsoft Corp. recruited Flood to help lead a team of students at its Handathon event at the University of Central Florida in Orlando. Flood printed the parts for 20 hands at UWM’s Innovation Accelerator and taught UCF students to assemble them. After seven hours, the hands were ready to ship to CRIT Michoacán, a children’s hospital in Mexico that serves 30,000 children, most from very poor families.

“It was a joy to see the students’ excitement as they completed their hands and realized what they were capable of doing,” Flood said.

Flood has been a part of the global volunteer effort to design and make sophisticated 3-D-printed prostheses for the past year, teaming up with his Peck School of the Arts colleague Adream Blair and UWM students to join a group called e-Nable.

E-Nable volunteers share one common goal, core member Jen Owen said. “They have a 3-D printer and they want to help someone.”

The UWM collaborators contribute ideas and designs to e-Nable’s brain trust, making them available for others to use. Flood co-created the group’s newest model, which was assembled in bulk at the Microsoft Handathon.

“It was not long ago that I told my students that this was the kind of project that they needed to engage in – making a difference in someone else’s life through the things they create,” Flood said. “I know I’m going to go home with a new perspective and focus thanks to the experiences that I had at UCF.”

Learn more about Flood’s work creating hands in the UWM Digital Craft Research Lab: https://uwm.edu/researchreport/ideas/3d-printed-prosthetics/


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