Kids Who Need Prostheses Get A Helping Hand From Two Designers In The UK
Stephen Davies was born with only one hand. And despite the fact that the technology and design that power prosthetic limbs was already fairly advanced by the time Stephen decided to pursue getting one, he struggled to secure a prosthesis that gave him comfort and confidence. It was that experience that launched what would become Stephen's lifelong passion project: Team Unlimbited.
During his search for a prosthetic hand, Stephen—a computer-aided-design engineer by training—discovered Drew Murray, an IT consultant and a volunteer with an organization called e-Nable, which was making free 3D prosthetics for children. Drew was the only volunteer based in the United Kingdom, where Stephen also lives, so Drew took over the task of creating a prosthesis for Stephen—an experience that would change both of their lives.
With his new hand, Stephen said, he "felt 10ft tall, walking down the road, wearing it." The boost in confidence was transformative, and he immediately wanted to pass the feeling on to others.
"I was so blown away by that, I knew I had to get involved."
So Stephen and Drew decided to team up. They invested in 3D printers, set up shop in a back yard garden shed, and together, created a new design for 3D-printed arms that improved on the e-Nable model. Team Unlimbited was in business.
Today, Stephen and Drew work non-stop filling orders for prosthetic hands and arms from all over the world. Each one costs about 30 pounds (around $45) in materials, and takes 12 hours to finish. Team Unlimbited is funded entirely by the two partners, and by outside donations. Kids who request prostheses get to choose their own colors and patterns, making for some amazing final designs.
"We are not a charity," Drew said. "We're just two men in a shed. It's rewarding to use our professional skills in a different way."