Tue 17 Dec 2019 10:23PM

Discussion of Upcoming Formal Proposal to Disseminate NIOP Devices to the Community

BR Bob Rieger Public Seen by 93

On July 21st of this year, the e-NABLE community unanimously approved a proposal written by Nate Munro to develop 12 different NIOP devices.  The majority of those devices are part of a modular series of trans-humeral and trans-radial prostheses designed around the Kwawu arm by Jaq Buchanan.  They accommodate a number of terminal devices designed to accomplish a variety of functions. The monies granted totaled $6,000 which supported Nate and the NIOP team for the required thousands of hours of design work, coordination and project management.

On December 5th, Nate presented the NIOP team’s completed work to the SPC at their regularly-scheduled meeting, a video of which is available to anyone in the community on the e-NABLE Hub.  The results are astounding, with virtually all the goals completed.  What has become quite apparent is the effort that will be required to disseminate this innovative and highly-versatile system to the community.  All NIOP designs are currently being registered to be official devices on the e-NABLE device list, and it’s important to know how the different components work to suit the recipient’s needs. 

It is expected that there will be a considerable learning curve for all the elements…..sizing, fabrication, assembly and fitting.  In addition, there is a small amount of continued design work to be expected to adapt the feedback from the community on the devices, and then the need for full documentation, OpenSCAD files for scaling the devices, assembly videos, etc.

This is a schematic of the NIOP modular system:

The SPC discussed what would be the optimal way to complete the design, documentation and roll-out of this NIOP series of devices.  The purpose of this discussion is to present a draft of a staged-plan, with funding requirements by stage.

Nate will take responsibility for completing any necessary revisions to the 12 NIOP Phase 1 devices, and the drafting of all documentation for the 4 main NIOP arm configurations (transradial long residual, transradial short, transhumeral long, and transhumeral short).  

Myself (Bob Rieger) and Shawn Mathiesen, an experienced volunteer have offered to lead the effort of training, video preparation and product introduction to the community following the completion of Nate’s work.  While the bulk of Nate’s efforts are currently completed, he does require additional funding to complete the bionic development in the arm to complement the Kwawu Bionic hand and create all the documentation. In addition, there will be travel and logistics costs for the video preparation, training and travel.  It is anticipated that all these activities can be initiated in the early part of 2020.

Accordingly, here is the proposed plan for your consideration:

 Stage 1: NIOP Completion - Documentation, OpenSCAD Sizing, and Prayer Hand Device   

·       Documentation including simple graphical step-by-step Instruction Manuals with pictures and OpenSCAD Sizing files to parametrically size, print and build the four basic types of devices to fit transradial and transhumeral recipients with long or short residual limbs. 

·       Continuous support for questions and any necessary design revisions to the NIOP designs from Phase 1

·       Software coding for selecting multiple grip patterns with a smartphone, and further development with the Kwawu Bionic hand and arm

·       Development of the Prayer Hand wrist-driven device, with a thermoformed palm that will be able to be customized for any combination of partial fingers directly through the OpenSCAD menus toggling each finger on the device as natural, partial finger (missing 1 or 2 digits) or prosthetic, so makers without any prior CAD skills can completely customize the device.  Additionally the OpenSCAD will allow the palm to be parametrically sized to accommodate for unusual proportions or shapes in the hand. Being thermoformed, the device will also be able to be custom formed to the recipient when other devices have not been able to fit.

·       This funding ensures that Nate can cover his personal expenses for two months so he can remain focused working solely for e-NABLE, and create the necessary supporting documentation to fully integrate the NIOP system into e-NABLE’s device library so anyone in the community can feel confident that they make these incredible devices. 

Components for Prayer Hand pictured left to right, XO-Glove gauntlet and palm with folding thumb, 

Knick’s Finger (or similar finger design), and Kwawu fingers

Time Frame:  2 months, January & February 2020      Requested Funding: $4,000

 Stage 2:  Initial Training Session and Workshop Planning-

·      Two day visit to both Nate’s workshop and Jaq Buchanan’s maker space in Colorado by Bob Rieger, Shawn Mathiesen, and Earl Mathiesen.  Task is to thoroughly review all NIOP system components, learn assembly and technical details, as well as seeing Jaq’s facility and discussing the venue for the Stage 3 Workshop.

·      During visit video will also be shot to begin preparation of training videos

·      Result of this trip will be a Formal Workshop Plan

Time Frame:  Late January 2020                  Requested Funding: $750 partial travel  subsidy…participants will personally cover a portion of their travel costs.

 Stage 3:  Formal Workshop and Training Session in Colorado

·      Two day formal workshop open to any e-NABLE volunteers on how to size, print, assemble and fit NIOP Devices

·      It is anticipated that certain volunteers will be invited to attend, particularly from the international chapter community.  

·      Highly-experienced volunteers will be invited in order to help disseminate the information

Time Frame:  March, 2020                       Requested Funding: $6,000 for venue cost, logistics and travel subsidies.

We would appreciate your critique, comments, thoughts……does our plan make sense?  Is it a cost-effective way of disseminating the NIOP technology and device gamut? If you can think of a better way, please let us know.

We also have begun a new fund-raising effort to replenish the Enable Fund, as recent grants have depleted it to the lower end of it’s range.


Rich B Wed 18 Dec 2019 1:30AM

First Bob let me say that you have done an excellent job in laying out the project. From what you presented, unless you are aIl going to work full time, I believe more time will be needed.

Having personally worked with Nate I have full confidence he is one of the most capable designers I have come across in my 5 years with e-NABLE.

I therefore vote in favor of the request, but would like to suggest a larger funding and allowance of more time.
Rich Brown


Bob Rieger Wed 18 Dec 2019 1:34PM

Thanks for the input, Rich. Yes, it probably will take much more time and funding. I have no real way of anticipating the final number, so I chose to input a reasonable minimum.....although perhaps it is not ultimately reasonable. Do you have any gut feeling on adjustments to timing and funding? Ultimately, I'm going to have to externally raise the funds to support this, so I'm getting my plans ready for that.


Rich B Wed 18 Dec 2019 5:18PM

If you’re (e-NABLE fund) is a 501c3 it is eligible for bigger funding from corporate entities, ie. Sams Club/ Walmart, Banks and our friends at Google, Autodesk, Intel and Microsoft. They usually budget a year ahead and require a good description of how fund’s are used.



Bob Rieger Wed 18 Dec 2019 6:24PM

Hi Rich...thanks for the ideas. Yes, the Enable Fund is 501 (c)3 eligible, and we are targeting the larger corporations. This year we received $20K from Dell, and we're contacting others. And indeed, they require formal proposals with detailed info, but we do have a template for that which we wrote this year.


Everton Lins Wed 18 Dec 2019 1:54AM

I think this is a great proposal and my suggestion is that the training be planned in a way that it will train the international participants to be replicators and the replicators will have the responsibility to replicate Nate's training with at least one local case they have and in their local language. the replicator's trainings have to be open for e-NABLE volunteers to participate . In this way we create domino effect that will generate different training sessions in different sites using different languages creating opportunities for a great number of people to participate and ensure that the knowledge won't be stuck with a small group of people.

If all replicator's open sessions are recorded in a predetermined standard, we will have a beautiful archive of real cases/trainings to share with the community.


Adam Armfield Wed 18 Dec 2019 3:32AM

Travel and accomodation is out of reach of our organizations budget. Is there a break down of the enable fund and how it is spent? This proposal plus previous funding is close to US$20k. Considering the community push back on the latest proposal by enable Medellín it would be nice to have more transparency around the process and costs.


Jon Schull Wed 18 Dec 2019 3:34AM

Opencollective.com/EnableFund shows the whole story.


Adam Armfield Wed 18 Dec 2019 3:41AM

Very Good. Thanks Jon. We have already printed and assembled 2 NIOP KWAWU remix devixes ready for delivery in January.


Jon Schull Fri 20 Dec 2019 3:37PM

I think the idea is to seek funding ok no stagger 2 for travel support for workshop attendance....


Adam Armfield Wed 18 Dec 2019 4:09AM

I think nate is doing a GREAT job with these designs. Im just interested in how the full time personal costs presented in this proposal differ from the salary we requested to complete and initiate on going projects? I can see the enable fund is running low and we need to be prudent with project funding so i would like to understand the differences to ensure a fair playing field for all enable chapters going forward and to ensure maximum ROI and impact for the global community.

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