Melissa Cadavid Varela
August 20, 2022
María Fernanda García
Without a doubt, being part of a team like Humanos 3D and being able to contribute a grain of sand to improve the quality of life of a person has been one of the best experiences. When I found out about the foundation I thought: “How cool to be able to put the knowledge I have at the disposal of others and if you can change someone’s life, why not do it?
Alexandra Flórez Valencia
August 20, 2022
“I applied to volunteer at e-NABLE after a friend of mine from University mentioned the project to me. It was my first time in Medellín and my first experience working with electronics and robotics. Lots of volunteers come to help e-NABLE and I quickly made a great group of friends in the team. There is a great vibe in the office so it definitely doesn’t feel like going to work. We’ve shared a lot of fun moments over the last few weeks – lots of laughs in the office and in the bars along Calle diez.
Whilst in Medellín my main project has been to develop a prototype robotic hand for recipients with limited arm movement. So far e-NABLE as successfully produced mechanically actuated devices – moving the arm or wrist to close the fingers. The aim with the robotic hand is to be able to control the fingers from muscle sensors. We are now able to control the hand from a computer, so the next step is connecting it via Bluetooth to the sensors. I’ve also worked on another project whilst here with Eric, an engineer from California. We designed an adaptive device to help a local drummer called Jaime to play his drums more easily.
Whilst here I usually arrive in the morning around 9.30 and work alone for a bit, maybe doing some CAD design or programming. Most restaurants in Colombia do a ‘Menu del día’ where you get a delicious lunch for 12mil pesos (a few dollars) so we often head out together to somewhere round the corner from the office. Usually the whole team is around in the afternoon, and sometimes recipients will come in to the office so we can make some changes and fit the devices. The beauty of 3D printing is that we can make amendments easily, in a style of the user’s choice. Before heading home we set up the 3D printers to run overnight so we have parts ready for the next day.
I’ve had some great moments whilst working with e-NABLE. It was awesome when the robotic hand first moved its fingers automatically – a lot of work went in to achieve that, with parts being ordered from the US, Bogotá and all over Medellín. Seeing Jaime testing out his new drumstick holder was something I won’t forget for a while.
I am leaving Medellin after these four weeks with mixed feelings – I am excited to be heading home and to start my new job in the UK, but I will miss the team at e-NABLE and the can-do ethos that Adam has created. It won’t be the last time I visit Colombia!”
David & Cheryl
I am a teacher by trade, but much of my professional experience has been in administration, operational management, and human resources. So far I have contributed to writing a funding application and development of a clear pipeline for future deliverables. I have also helped to establish some consistent file management protocols. It has been a pleasure to work with the team on streamlining their operating processes and increasing efficiencies.
David has brought his experience in mechanical engineering, product design, and knowledge of different production methods. He is working closely with the engineering team to streamline workshop practices, build and fit devices, and contributing to the improvement of assistive device designs.
Each day can be quite different at headquarters, and there’s a lot of flexibility to manage your day, depending on the needs of the team. The workshop and office are always busy – the team works really hard to deliver these devices to the community. We are encouraged to use our own expertise and judgement as situations arise, but also to ask as many questions as we need. I had a lot of fun sanding, painting, and assembling assistive devices in the workshop too. It has been rewarding to see the devices in action, knowing at the impact it can make in someone’s life.