I spent the day working with Ivan Owen of University of Washington Bothell and Albert Manero of University of Central Florida. We were at University of Central Florida today - teaching students how to assemble 3D printed e-NABLE hands during their "Engineering Week" for the #Collectiveproject. These assembled hands will be traveling to @CRITdeMichoacan a children's hospital in Mexico to be fitted to children who are in need of assistive devices!
Ivan Owen and I conducted the UCF handathon event. Today Ivan and I created over 67 hands with the help of UCF students. We started at 9am and ended at 4pm, at which time the hands were packed up and shipped to San Antonio to make the final leg of their trip to Mexico.
We were blessed with an excellent work space and tools thanks to the organization of Nosubject (http://www.nosubjectlosangeles.com/#about) and Possible.com (http://www.possible.com/approach/perspective-90s). We met several Microsoft executives and worked with Albert Manero and his team to collaborate on the creation of the hands. Everyone involved was amazed by the creative spirit and serous thought behind the creation of the hands and it was a joy to see the students excitement as they completed their hands and realized what they were capable of doing. So many students commented on what a privilege it was to work on something that "is larger than themselves" and many of the students stuck around after building a hand to help other students assemble their hands. Ivan and I had a great time working together and we both "worked the room" and engaged with the students on the creation of the hands. The day simply flew by.
It was a true privilege to work with Ivan. I have so much respect for Ivan and the work that he has done in the past three years. It was not long ago that I saw the video that Makerbot made about Ivan and Richard, and I told my students that this was THE kind of projects that they all needed to engage in; making a difference in someone else's life through the things they create.
Little did I know that in a few months I would be helping to spread the word by helping people. Shea and her family helped me to realize that I needed to practice what I was preaching to my students and that life could be so much more rewarding if I was able to put my abilities to work in the service of other people.
I have to admit that I have been having trouble keeping up with the whirlwind of activity that has surrounded e-NABLE these last few months. There have many decisions and organizational planning that has been taking place and I haven't been able to keep up with it all, AND work my job, AND enjoy my family, AND develop my new courses, AND help other children in need, AND and make new work or designs.
Before heading out for this trip, things had just gotten too complex. After working with all of the UCF students and Ivan today, I see what attracted me to Shea and her family and to e-NABLE in the first place. It was helping others, being able to make things at the same time, AND talking with other people that feel the same way about both of these things as I do. Sounds pretty simple to me now! I'm thankful to the UCF students for their passion and drive today and for Ivan for being a person who has never lost sight of the importance in sharing things freely. I know I am going to go home with a new perspective and focus thanks to the experiences that I had today.