Saturday, March 15, 2014

karuna's short gauntlet beast

Here is another hand that I made for Karuna to try out. It features the short gauntlet design that I recently uploaded to Thingiverse.

I thought it might be nice to explain how I was introduced to Karuna. I joined the e-NABLE Google+ community in late December. I started reading posts by other members and looking at designs for hands that were posted there in hopes that I would be able to help Shea with her Christmas hand wish. The posts were very informative and I started to see that there was a lot of activity by a select few in the group. Soon after joining I saw that there were monthly Google Hangouts to discuss things through a video conference like meeting. I have to admit that I missed the first hangout, because I couldn't find the "invitation" when the time for the meeting arrived. I told myself that I would make the next one for sure. Two months ended up passing before I would attend a Hangout, since I had a scheduling conflict with the second opportunity. Finally, I was able to attend an e_NABLE Google+ Hangout. I wasn't sure what to expect, but as soon as I logged in, I was greeted by Jon Schull (one of the moderators of the e-NABLE group). I soon found myself engaged in discussion with people from all over the world. One of the other new people that was in the group was named Teresa. Teresa was asking for advice on the assembly of a printed hand for her son. Advice was given to her and we all continued to talk about involvement and ideas pertaining to the e-NABLE group. As the Hangout continued, the subject of where I worked and what I do came up. I mentioned that my Digital Craft Research Lab was located at the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. Teresa, the other new member spoke up and said that she was located in Brookfield (a city just 15 miles west of Milwaukee). We had been talking this whole time, while thinking we were both hundreds of miles from each other; but actually were right next to each other. I told her to contact me if she needed help with putting a hand together.

Soon after, Teresa contacted me and asked for advice on purchasing hardware for the Robohand she was building. I sent some links to her and told her to stop by the DCRL if she wanted to. Over the course of a few weeks we passed emails back and forth until she decided to come visit the lab. She had decided to build a Cyborg Beast for her son Karuna. We set up a day to visit and I asked her if she would send me a picture of Karuna's affected hand. She sent the typical images that included a ruler next to his arm. I decided at this time, that I would go ahead and scale a Cyborg Beast to his size and print it just so we had some parts to look at when Teresa and Karuna arrived, even though they did not expect me to print anything for them. Within a day or two I had all of the necessary components printed and the day before their visit I decided to go ahead and assemble the hand so I could have something for Karuna to "try out". If you've been following the blog, you know that Jill and I assembled it and then I picked up some hardware the next morning so I could assemble the tensioner. I arrived at school, and soon after Teresa called me and said they were there. I went down and met Teresa and her family and then gave them a tour of the DCRL.We talked and I proceeded to thread the tensioner and secure all of the cables on Karuna's mechanical hand. Within a hour, Karuna was wearing his new hand. It was such a pleasure to meet Teresa and Karuna face to face and to hear their story. I think that is the best part about doing this kind of work.

Imagine... collaborating with a global community on the design of mechanical hands; only to connect with someone in need that happens to be in your backyard. Thanks to the e-NABLE group both of these scenarios are possible.

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