After a friend spent the summer working for a firm that developed prosthetics and after having experience working with people with limb deficiencies and prosthetics herself, in the beginning of her junior year Dominique DeMoe wanted to work with friend, Cole Grabowski to create a club on campus that made prosthetics. After doing a bit of digging, they found that e-NABLE Notre Dame, lay dormant with many of the current members seniors who did not have time to revive the club. E-NABLE is a national organization which uses 3D printing to create different limbs for those in need. The e-NABLE website provides open source files that users can use and re-size to fit the needs of the recipient. After a semester of working to get the e-NABLE Notre Dame chapter back on its feet, members of the club were introduced to Tori, an eleven-year-old girl who was born with half a palm and only one finger on each hand. Dominique then worked with Tori, her family and the rest of the members of the club to get Tori two new 3D printed prosthetic hands.
E-NABLE Notre Dame is now a club with a majority of engineers. As the only Industrial Design major in the chapter, Dominique had a unique perspective. Notre Dame’s design program has a focus on the user and how users interact with products. Students don’t just design to design but design with a purpose. The hands that Tori would be receiving were products that would impact her daily life and since Tori was born with two fingers on each hand, e-NABLE Notre Dame had to work to figure out how to best utilize the open source files from the national organization since the hands were designed for people who had no fingers. In the end the base files were unable to be edited so members of e-NABLE worked with a band saw to customize the design of the hand to fit Tori’s fingers after it was 3D printed and then attached foam padding inside of the palm to increase comfort and protect her fingers from where the material was cut.
This year, e-NABLE Notre Dame is working to create their own designs for hands and is even looking toward designing forearms and feet, and Dominique is looking forward to how her design education and knowledge of software like SolidWorks will play a role in these new endeavors.
Dominique is a senior, Industrial Design major also pursuing a minor in Computing and Digital Technologies. Along with being the Social Media Coordinator and Senior Representative for e-NABLE ND, she is the Graphics Editor for Notre Dame’s student run newspaper, The Observer and an RA for her dorm, Flaherty Hall.
Tori’s story: https://www.nd.edu/features/e-nabled/