In a simple old backyard in Swansea, UK live two garden workers, Stephen Davies and Drew Murray. However, they are not your everyday garden workers. In their small shed surrounded by bushes, remarkable things take place. Also known as team Unlimbited, Davis and Murray run a self-funded project for children with disabilities using 3D printers and rapid prototyping technology.
3D printed prosthetics are nothing new and have been around for a while. Because of its rapid manufacturing and affordability, it is widely used all around the globe and has opened up new opportunities for thousands of disabled people. e-NABLE, is an initiative that works hard towards prosthetics made through rapid prototyping and connects workers with users.
Stephen Davies was originally a computer assisted design engineer born with one hand, and when he got in touch with Drew Murray, who at the time was the only e-NABLE worker in the UK, they joined forces to create Team Unlimbited. This team is different from all other 3D prosthetic makers in a number of unique ways.
Team Unlimbited’s headquarters are one fascination itself, loaded with equipment and lots and lots of photos of the disabled children they have aided. Their M.O is what catches the eye. These disabled children not only get the prosthetics, but they get to design it too however they wish. From the colors and patterns and textures, from how dull to how bright, whatever the kids want this duo completes, and that too all free of charge.
Because they use open-sourced design files, absolutely anyone and everyone who owns some Velcro, some fishing line and access to a 3D printer can make their prosthetics using rapid prototyping technology locally.
The duo Davies and Murray does not like to call this initiative a charity, but like to see this as a way of using their professional skills for the betterment of the society. A single hand costs only about 30 pounds in raw materials and the rapid prototyping process takes less than a day to manufacture. Because of this, the duo finds themselves always overflowing with requests, but this only makes them work harder and motivates them to grow.
Stephen Davies is a father who works full time and spends all this evenings and weekends doing this amazing job.
Team Unlimbited started their journey with little Isabella, 9 years of age who was given a beautiful fuchsia arm. Isabella was already pretty capable with one arm even though she was young, however the new addition helped her work faster with her day to day tasks, and also helped her with other small things like playing the piano, turning pages in books, playing sports and a lot of other things she could not do properly before getting the new limb.
After hearing about the amazing duo through social media site Facebook Isabella’s father picked out a pink and purple for her rapid prototyped arm and Davies and Murray then put that theme to work to come out with rejoicing results. This new fuchsia arm gave little Isabella ton of confidence and prevented her from feeling self-conscious, not to mention made her flaw into a unique difference.
After getting the prosthetic arm, little Isabella was cast in an advertisement for the Paralympic games 2016. Before that while receiving the arm from the duo, a video recording was made, and it went viral with up to 2 million views on YouTube making Team Unlimbited even more famous.
Although these customized rapid prototyped arms are not as resilient as the traditional ones, they don’t really need to be. These prosthetics are made for children, and they soon grow out for them and need frequent replacements, which in this case is perfect since they are easy to make and are affordable too. For kids like Isabella this is a plus point because it means with every new prosthetic these kids get to have new designs and colors along with their upgrades so far with the help of team Unlimbited Isabella has received 3 arms made through rapid prototyping, each an upgraded version of her original pink and purple themed arm.
Just like that, hundreds and hundreds of other little children like Isabella are sending in requests every day to Team Unlimbited. With numerous new designs from The Incredible Hulk, Spiderman and princess themed limbs, these disabled kid are using their imagination to the fullest to overcome their small disabilities. In turn, their missing limbs are being made up for by unique customized designs which not only help them in their daily tasks but make these little kids feel proud and different. The best part of all these has to be that it is all done for free, so kids without limbs who cannot afford to get traditional prosthetics can get one too and live a normal life.
Meanwhile, the demand for these 3D printed prosthetics is skyrocketing in the little garden shed for Team Unlimbited.
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