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

As part of its $20 million Google Impact Challenge focused on disabilities, Google.org has awarded a $600,000 grant to the Enable Community Foundation to further advance the e-NABLE community's innovative work on 3D-printed open-source prosthetics.

"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."

As the world’s largest and most active open source prosthetics community, e-NABLE has produced hundreds of 3D printed prosthetic hands and continues to innovate low cost 3D printed prostheses.

Until recently, children with upper limb differences had few affordable prosthetic options because the conventional fabrication approaches are often too expensive and time-consuming for children who quickly outgrow them. The e-NABLE community leverages open source research and design, crowd-sourced fabrication, and mass-customization to produce affordable and effective prosthetics for children and adults.

"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," said Schull, who is a Research Scientist at Rochester Institute of Technology. "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.

Ivan Owen, one of the Enable Community Foundation's directors observed, "We live in a time with an unprecedented level of access to knowledge, technology… and to each other. 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."

The e-NABLE community is an open community founded by Jon Schull in 2013 to crowd-source the design, fabrication, and dissemination of 3D-printed prosthetics for children and others missing fingers or hands  The volunteer community has grown continuously since then, and has already delivered hundreds of devices to  recipients in at least 37 countries. The Enable Community Foundation was founded in October 2014 to support the mission and operations of the e-NABLE community.

For more information, visit: www.enablingthefuture.org

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