Medical & Dental

US charity LifEnabled brings 3D printed prosthesis to the developing world

Meredith and Brent Wright, a married couple from North Carolina have launched LifEnabled to help amputees in the developing world. Making personalized prosthesis is supported by the use of 3D scanning mobile app DigiScan 3D, CNC milling and 3D printing.

One of LifEnabled's happy patients. Photo via: on Facebook
One of the charity’s happy patients.

“Hope is a prosthesis”

In addition to developing the app and exploring technologies to provide the best low-cost option for patients, the LifEnabled team helps people directly at the source. Twice a year, LifEnabled opens a prosthetic clinic in the Petén regional zone of Guatemala to give free prosthesis and follow-up treatments to those in need.

Video shows LifEnabled’s work in Petén from August 2016. 

Petén is the largest administrative department in Guatemala and, according to a national census from 2002, has an estimated population of 366,735 people. By housing their clinic in the central city of San Benito, the LifEnabled team endeavors to provide an accessible service to as many Petén occupants as possible.

Accessibility through technology

The LifEnabled DigiScan 3D app can turn any iPad or iPhone into an accessible archive of patient records and models. It is supported by the scanning attachment developed by Colorado based tech startup Occipital Inc. to ensure medical-grade quality of the prosthesis.

Prosthesis molds hung out to dry in Petén
Prosthesis molds hung out to dry in Petén

iOS users can download and use the DigiScan 3D app for free from the Apple app store. To then send the scans and prime them for 3D printing/production, users are requested to support the project through a subscription fee.

Subscription comes in five reasonably priced time-bands ranging from 1 week to one year, and all proceeds go directly to funding the growth and sustainability of LifEnabled as a non-profit organization. You can also make an outright donation to the project via their website here.

From LifEnabledInc on Twitter: "Valmer worked in the fields before an accident severed his legs 2 years ago. Today he walked like a rock star."
From LifEnabledInc on Twitter: “Valmer worked in the fields before an accident severed his legs 2 years ago. Today he walked like a rock star.”

With the popularity of patient-specific prosthesis in 3D printing, it’s inspiring to see the technology being used to help those without access to such resources.

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Featured image shows prosthetic legs made by the charity in Guatemala. All photos in this article, include the featured image, are courtesy of on Facebook and LifEnabledInc on Twitter.