By Caitlyn Conville | Staff Writer
Since the Fall of 2017, the charitable students of Bergen Community College’s STEM Club and STEM Student Scholars Program (3SP) have been constructing prosthetic hands and forearms for those missing limbs for free as part of a global movement called Project E-Nable.
Since 2017, the faculty research mentor has been Professor Kassem AlHussein, who was working on Project E-Nable professionally prior to his employment at BCC. Elda Pere was the most recent president of the project, but the position is currently open.
The blueprints for the prosthetics are either freely downloaded from Project E-Nable’s website, or they’re custom-designed using 3D modeling software called Fusion 360. The designs are then produced by a $3500 3D printer, which uses PETG plastic– a more durable, temperature and impact-resistant filament, according to All3DP magazine.
The material costs “less than $1 per hand and hardware materials like rubber bands and screws cost about another $2,” says Professor AlHussein.
Printing can take up to 24 hours and assembly of the individual parts adds another hour or two, but the gratitude and appreciation from the amputees make the complicated process worth every second.
The prosthetics are built to last about a year and recipients will be able to participate in sports and high-intensity activities. However, the most fundamental and respectable fact about Project E-Nable is that the prosthetics are 100 percent free of charge.
BCC’s Project E-Nable chapter has created about 10 prosthetics, and plans on building more in the future.
Professor AlHussein expresses, “The best part of it all: the uplifting, breathtaking, out-of-this-world feeling you get when a 9-year-old has a smile on his face because now he can play with his friends.”