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3d printing

Motherhood

Visually impaired mom can now 'see' her baby's ultrasound, thanks to science

'I've not been able to see his ultrasounds at all, so like this is so cool.'

A visually impaired mom can now 'see' her baby's ultrasound.

An ultrasound is typically the first opportunity for a new parent to visibly connect with their unborn child, but some parents don't get to "see" their baby's first image due to being blind or visually impaired.

This was the case for Ashton Johnson, an expectant mom from Nebraska, who also wasn't able to see the glossy black and white print-out of the ultrasound due to her visual impairment. Traditional ultrasound pictures are slick when they're printed, and without any ridges or bumps on the image, Johnson wasn't able to visualize what the picture looked like.

But her OBGYN, Dr. Katie Sekpe, had a plan to help the mom-to-be "see" her ultrasounds, instead of relying solely on her husband's descriptions. Dr. Sekpe contacted Dr. John Coté, another OBGYN, to ask him to create 3D prints of the couple's ultrasound pictures.


Dr. Coté isn't just a doctor who randomly owns a 3D printer, he's an assistant professor and researcher at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska. He told KETV Omaha that giving moms a 3D print of their ultrasound increases their oxytocin levels and attachment to their babies. The research being done at the university is some of the first of its kind, according to Coté.

It's obvious from the video that Johnson is beside herself with the joy of getting to "see" her baby for the first time at different stages of her pregnancy. Technology sure is amazing!

You may want to grab a tissue before you watch the video below.

Gabriel Filippini wanted to surprise his little brother, Lucas, with something extra special for his 6th birthday.

Photo by Gabriel Filippini, used with permission.


Lucas was born without a hand, so Gabriel thought he'd find a way to make him a prosthetic one.

Fortunately, his high school in Virginia just so happened to have recently purchased a 3D printer.


An Afinia printer in action, similar to the one Gabriel's school bought. Image via Afinia3DPrint/YouTube.

"Lucas can do everything he wants with one hand, but I wanted to see what he could do with two," Gabriel told Upworthy.

Gabriel spoke with his CTE (Career Technology Education) teacher, Kurt O'Connor, at Park View High School, about using the 3D printer for this rather complicated endeavor.

"I didn't think it was impossible, but I did see some challenges. Honestly the 3D printing world is rather knew to me, and I have spent the last year learning more about it," O'Connor admitted to Upworthy.

O'Connor was not about to put limitations on what his students could do, so together, he and Gabriel came up with a plan.

They decided to reach out to a company called e-Nable or Enabling the Future — a global organization made up of volunteers who help teach people how to create prosthetic hands using 3D printing.

Yup, that's a Wonder Woman prosthetic arm. This girl is badass. Photo from E-Nable/Facebook, used with permission.

Once e-Nable got them set up with DIY tutorials and design patterns for the prosthetic, O'Connor and Gabriel got to work.

The project was not without its challenges.

"One of the biggest challenges Mr. O'Conner and I had was the joints," Gabriel explained. "They had to be flexible in order for the fingers to bend. When we printed the joints for the first time, they were stiff."

To solve this problem, O'Connor reached out to Makersmith, a company that specializes in teaching kids how to build things, to help them print new joints that were more flexible.

The Raptor Design. Enable the Future.

The first hand they created ended up too big. Luckily, thanks to the 3D printing technology, they were able to scale down the design without too much fuss and print a new one that fit properly.

When Lucas's 6th birthday rolled around in June 2016, he was ecstatic to receive such a thoughtful gift from his older brother.

Lucas gripping a box with his new hand! Photo by Gabriel Filippini, used with permission.

While Gabriel couldn't be there to give Lucas the hand in person (he was out of state on a trip), he was able to FaceTime to see his brother with the new hand. Their mom told Gabriel how excited Lucas was, immediately wanting to pick things up with the new hand. According to his brother, he's most looking forward to learning how to tie his own shoes using two hands.

This amazing moment of giving the gift of double handedness was brought to you by a brother's love and the ability to think outside the box.

Both O'Connor and Gabriel would love to keep working on helping hand projects like this.

Photo by Enable the Future.

"I'd love to help more kids in need. Park View High School is actually considering registering with e-Nable to help other kids in our community and other communities," Gabriel said.

"After completing this project and seeing the impact we have had on this little boy's life, I am definitely going to bring this into the classroom," O'Connor said.

As a result of this project, the Loudoun County Public School has created an initiative called One to the World, which O'Connor says will "[challenge] teachers to develop and deliver real-world applications to students."

The simple message here is if you can dream it, you can do it. And if you can dream something that will improve someone else's life, even better.

More

How a video of a metal puppet hand eventually turned into an idea for accessibility.

This may seem like a story about technology, but it's actually a story about kindness.

True
Dignity Health old

This is a cool kid named Ethan.


Image via Upworthy and Dignity Health.

This is his pretty cool hand.

Image via Upworthy and Dignity Health.

And the story behind cool Ethan and his cool hand is one of those stories that makes you say, "I'm really glad to be alive right now because this kind of thing could not have happened at any other point in history."

It's a story about YouTube videos and 3D printers and random Internet connections. But more than that, it's all about how one single act of kindness can lead to another. Which leads to another. Which leads to another.

And before you know it, those kindnesses (along with that technology) can make pretty amazing things happen.

It all started back in 2011.

Check out the video below for the full story, or scroll down to check out the six acts of kindness featured and how it goes beyond just Ethan's story to help hundreds of kids like him.

First act of kindness: Let's make a finger.

A man named Ivan Owen posted a fun video on YouTube of himself wearing a metal puppet hand he had made as a costume. Thousands of miles away, a South African carpenter named Richard who had lost his finger in a woodworking accident saw the video and was intrigued. He reached out to Owen to discuss what he made.

Image via Ivan Owen/YouTube.

The two ended up spending a year collaborating on building a replacement finger.

Second act of kindness: Let's make a hand.

The mother of a 5-year-old boy named Liam heard about their project and asked if they could also try to build a small hand for her son who had been born with no fingers. After a lot of hard work and the idea to use a 3D printer, they ultimately developed the first ever 3D-printed mechanical hand. It was badass, and so was Liam.

Image via MakerBot/YouTube.

Third act of kindness: Let's share what we know.

Here's where it gets even more interesting.

Instead of patenting the design for this new hand (can you imagine how much money they could have made?) in January 2013, Owen generously and unselfishly decided to publish the design files as open-source and public domain so that anyone, anywhere could download the files and use a 3D printer to make the same type of prosthetic.

Fourth act of kindness: Let's connect the dots.

Several months later, a professor named Jon Schull (featured in the video) stumbled upon a video of Liam and his 3D-printed hand and saw that people were leaving comments under it, offering up their own 3D-printing skills to help make more hands.

So Schull came up with bright idea to start a Google+ group and an online map for them to share their locations. That way, people who were seeking prosthetics (namely hands) could find the closest volunteer.

He left a comment on the video and invited people to join him in the Google group and put a "pin" on the map marking their location if (1) they wanted to print hands or (2) they knew where a hand was needed.

Fifth act of kindness: Let's build a community.

Well, it worked. By the end of the first day, there were seven pins. In a few weeks, there were hundreds. And the numbers kept growing and growing.

Image via Upworthy and Dignity Health.

It turns out there weren't just a lot of people in need of prosthetic limbs, but there were a lot of people who were able and willing to make them!

That simple idea grew into what is today known as Enable, a nonprofit organization and community made up of teachers, students, engineers, scientists, doctors, designers, parents, children, artists, philanthropists, coders, and everyone in between creating 3D-printed hands and arms and giving them away to those in need of an upper-limb assistive device ... for free.

Sixth act of kindness: Let's make it free.

That's right. Enable gives away the 3D prosthetics at no cost to the recipient.

Those six kind decisions have now made it possible for hundreds of children to receive prosthetics.

And remember our cool kid Ethan? He was one of them. His mom stumbled upon the community online, reached out, and Enable ultimately helped Ethan get the hand that he now just can't stop showing off.

His story (shown in the video above) isn't just amazing because somehow something positive actually came out of a YouTube comment section. And it wasn't just made possible because of the magic of 3D printing — although that, in and of itself, is pretty awe-inspiring.

It was made possible because of the kindness of the creators in the Enable community whose small devotion of resources and time can make kids like Ethan really, really happy.

Heroes

15 scientific breakthroughs from 2015 that made our world a little better.

From rhino cameras to tiny molecules to space explorations, these 15 scientific discoveries were pretty earth-shattering.

In 2015, science helped us learn a lot about the universe we’re living in.

From the tiniest molecules making up the building blocks of matter to gigantic planetary systems billions of light years away, we witnessed countless scientific discoveries, advancements, and inventions this year.

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Say hello to Neil DeGrasse Tyson, king of science.



Regular people created amazing inventions to save humans and animals. Scientists discovered new species and planets. And researchers even learned new things about parenting and children.


Here are just a few of the most amazing and world-changing breakthroughs you might remember reading about:

1. We finally got a close-up of Pluto.

For the past 10 years, a small probe has been hurtling through space toward the rock that was once the smallest planet in our solar system. (This is a true #tbt.)

(Pluto’s first selfie, from the NASA Instagram.)

This July, that little probe finally got close enough to snap some pics of Pluto’s surface. Since Pluto was discovered in 1930, scientists have proposed several flybys and exploration journeys to learn more about it. Now, those same scientists hope that New Horizons will be able to tell us a lot more about Pluto and our solar system’s history in the coming years.

2. We found a hairy-chested crab at the very bottom of the Antarctic Ocean.

Forget about outer space for a second — there are a lot of surprising and outer-space-like things on our home planet, too. For example, last year, scientists found a new species of hairy-chested crab.

This crab lives so far down in the Antarctic Ocean that it uses the heat given off by churning lava at the center of the Earth as its own space heater. Seriously.

3. An 18-year-old figured out how to help visually impaired people “see” with echolocation.

Usually, human eyes take in light waves, sending that information to the brain and creating what we know as vision. But for people who are visually impaired, sound waves could be an alternative to light waves.

That’s the science behind a Canadian teenager’s echolocation device, which could change navigation for people who are blind. Pretty darn impressive, especially for a high schooler.

4. Rhinos got their own security systems.

GoPros aren’t just for daredevils, nature enthusiasts, and kitten rescuers anymore. This year, conservationists began painlessly implanting cameras in the horns of rhinos, too.

A small camera in a rhino’s horn. Image used with permission by Protect.

If a poacher is threatening a rhino, an alarm goes off and the camera turns on to tip off nearby rangers. Rhino poaching in South Africa alone has increased by 9,000% in the past seven years, so if we want rhinos in our future, this is a pretty important invention.

5. (Almost) everything you need to know, you learned in kindergarten.

That is, as long as you learned how to be kind, resolve problems, and share. A study wrapped up this year showed how much those early behaviors shape our lives years later. It also showed that if you weren't the most cooperative kindergartener, it’s never too late to drop your bad habits.

6. A guy beat cancer by getting new 3D-printed bones.

A man in Spain needed to have a tumor in his chest removed. Surgeons were able to take out the infected bone and replace it with customized, titanium, 3D-printed ribs and sternum.

Photo by iStock/Anatomics. Used with permission.

You can expect to see more 3D printing in medicine in the future — it's an awesome trend that could truly change how we make things and cure illnesses.

7. We found out (again) that vaccines don’t cause autism.

An anti-vaccine group funded a study on the link between vaccines and autism. Spoiler alert: The study found no such link. Go get your shots, y’all.

8. Researchers confirmed the existence of a new subatomic particle called the pentaquark.

OK, in the first place, it’s pretty awesome that we have a giant machine (a supercollider) that slams atoms together so we can learn more about physics. And it’s even more awesome when that machine shows us things we’ve never seen before.

In July 2015, that supercollider showed us the pentaquark — four quarks (which live inside protons) stuck to one antiquark.

Pentaquark rendering by CERN.

Even though they've discovered the pentaquark, scientists still have no idea what it actually does. Here's to more research!

9. Chimpanzees are catching up to us.

Um, apparently we’re not the only ones making scientific discoveries. A report this year found that non-human primates are making crude tools — just like we were during the Stone Age. They haven’t exactly figured out how to make a wheel yet, but this report shows that chimp cultures are clearly more advanced than we previously thought.

10. We planned to put a huge floating structure in the ocean to clean up pollution.

This awesome structure will collect trash in the ocean that harms fish and plant life. And that’s pretty important, since 8 million pieces of trash end up in the water each year.

This thing is going to help preserve our oceans’ ecosystems. Photo from The Ocean Cleanup.

11. A diver had a conversation with a whale.

Maybe that’s oversimplifying what happened. But a beluga whale did imitate human speech patterns after hanging out with human trainers. We already know that whales can communicate with each other — maybe someday soon, they’ll be able to communicate with us!

12. We figured out how to save newborns’ lives by keeping them warm — for cheap.

When babies — especially preemies — are born, they need to stay warm. Embrace infant warmers are being used instead of incubators to keep babies cozy, comfy, and healthy. So far, they’ve saved 150,000 babies (which, by the way, is a LOT of babies).

This is what an Embrace infant warmer looks like. Do they make an adult size?!

13. A computer science student created an app to help autistic people communicate during panic attacks.

With Emergency Chat, a person with autism who is having a meltdown can just show their phone to someone to communicate that they need help. And because the app’s creator has autism, he was able to craft it to best suit the needs of people using it.

14. A fifth-grader figured out how to make stuffed animals safe for the operating room.

Yet another young person doing cool stuff: Preteen Gaby Zane figured out that simply washing stuffed animals eliminated most of the bacteria they carry. Previously, kids couldn’t take their stuffed animals into the O.R. because they were germy — but Gaby’s discovery means they can.

Pretty cool, huh?

15. Minneapolis opened a chlorine-free pool that naturally eliminates bad bacteria.

No chemicals in this pool. Photo courtesy of Angela Doheny.

The pool drains twice a day and gravel, limestone, and plants help filter it. No more burning eyes from chlorine!

What's even better than this whole list is that all these sweet discoveries are just a sample of the scientific work that was done this year.

Scientific discoveries encourage us to think bigger, push harder, and strengthen our imagination. Put simply, science is just really freaking cool.

So, as science accelerates into hyper-speed, we’re looking forward to 2016 blowing our minds as well. Off we go.