Posted Date: 10/19/2020
Brylee Cooley, a senior at Merryville High School, is creating e-NABLE prosthetic
upper limb devices through the e-NABLE volunteer community and her science class.
“I am thrilled to be able to participate in this exciting program that delivers
prosthetic hands and arms to underserved communities around the world,” she said.
MHS science teacher Michelle Stark learned about the e-NABLE community and
thought it would be a dynamic project for her students. She is always looking for unique
ways to engage her science students in STEM activities and to tie their classroom learning
with real-world opportunities.
“Brylee has expressed interest in the medical field, especially physical therapy,” said
Stark. “When I learned about e-NABLE, I thought it would be a project that would engage
her in helping solve a practical problem with STEM activities that will reinforce the skills
she is learning in the classroom.”
ENABLE volunteers use 3D printers to create the components for prosthetic upper
limb devices, assemble the devices, and donate them to those who have little or no access
to medical care and/or who may not be able to afford such devices.
The devices are meant to be used as tools to help people with normal, daily
functioning. The hands, for example, do not have individually moving fingers, but operate
as one unit.
ENABLE began in 2011 and emerged as an online, open-source community for
design, enhancement, creation, and assembly of upper arm prosthetic devices. Volunteers
help create and refine prosthetic designs as well as make the devices. They can pick the
design they want to create, train via online resources, and create their device. They must
then submit the initial device for testing and approval before earning their badge to be able
to create a device for someone’s use.
Stark and Cooley have both been approved to create the Phoenix Unlimited Hand,
and are currently working to be approved to create the Cyborg Beast Model and the
Phoenix V3 Model. They use the e-NABLE design to print the components on a 3D printer,
and then use wire, screws, and other materials to assemble the device into a functioning
“Once we successfully create a working device that is approved for the program, we
can then partner with those in need and make devices for a specific person,” explained
Stark. “In the future, I hope that other students in my science classes and science club will
want to participate in this project that immediately benefits another person while also
helping students use and improve their STEM skills.”
For her part, Cooley is happy to participate in this real-world, hands-on project.
“I know this experience will make a huge difference for me in my future career,”
concluded Cooley, “but it is also exciting to be using my skills, learning something new, and
helping make someone’s life better right now.”
ENABLE has approximately 20,000 volunteers in over 100 countries delivering free
prosthetic hands and arms to 8,000 recipients around the world. They are working to “Give the World a Helping Hand.”
Information about the collaboration can be found at enablingthefuture.org.
Brylee Cooley, senior at Merryville High School, has been approved to make the Phoenix
Unlimbited Hand (shown on table) through the e-NABLE project, and is currently working
to be approved to make the Cyborg Beast, which she is holding, and the Phoenix V3 model.