Dell Technologies using 3D printing to transform prosthetics

EVP and CCO Karen Quintos described the initiative as one taking the power of technology and combining it with human spirit to scale it for the greater good.

Dell Technologies using 3D printing to transform prosthetics EVP and COO Karen Quintos described the initiative as one taking the power of technology and combining it with human spirit to scale it for the greater good.

Phoebe, a young girl from Manchester, UK, and the daughter of Dell employee Keith Dyer, was born with dysmelia, a rare congenital limb disorder.

With dysmelia seeing Phoebe live without part of her arm, she was given a hook in place of a hand at a young age. But as Dell Technologies EVP and chief customer officer Karen Quintos explained, it was difficult for a young, active child like Phoebe to have a hook.

Speaking during the Dell Technologies World day one keynote, Quintos recalled how Dell partner Deloitte learned about Phoebe's condition and worked with her to build a 3D printed prosthetic arm that was 100% customised -- she chose Disney's Frozen for her first theme.

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Phoebe's 'Frozen' 3D printed prosthesis

Image: Asha McLean/ZDNet

"Across the pond, all the way in Red Rock, Texas, another Dell Technologies team member read about Phoebe's story ... he has two daughters ... and he was so inspired, he had to get involved," Quintos added.

Autumn, the daughter of OEM Enterprise Product Specialist at Dell EMC Ronnie Egnatuk, who also has dysmelia, had similarly struggled to find a prosthesis that suited the needs of a young girl.

Quintos said that after hearing of Autumn's story, Egnatuk realised that if the Dell Precision Workstation could be used to design concept cars or dragons for Game of Thrones, it should be used to for prosthetics, too.

"So he partnered with us, our engineers, and our designers, with Deloitte to optimise scale and speed up the whole 3D prosthetic design process," she said. "And the result? We are now printing prosthetics for children and adults around the world."

The work did not stop there, however, with Quintos detailing a partnership the tech giant has with e-Nable, an organisation that is focused on building 3D prosthetic arms for the underserved population.

"We're going to bring this technology experience to the underserved communities that need it the most and we are taking the design that we have built for Phoebe and other children, and we're making them available on our Dell Community Makers Lab in India, where local students are learning not just how to print prosthetic arms but how to give back, and how do they take the power of technology and scale it to have an even greater impact with the technology and the combination of the human spirit," Quintos continued.

It takes approximately 14 hours to print a child's size hand using 3D printer, and another four-plus hours to assemble. But the time and cost are minimal compared to a traditional prosthetic.

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A 3D prosthetic being printed in the Dell Technologies World Solutions Expo

Image: Asha McLean/ZDNet

Disclaimer: Asha McLean travelled to Dell Technologies World as a guest of Dell Technologies  

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