- Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014
One year ago today, Daniel Omar – a 16-year old boy of Sudan’s war-ravaged Nuba Mountains – used a 3D-printed arm to feed himself. Having lost both arms at age 14 when a bomb was dropped on this civilian territory, Daniel had considered his life not worth living.
Printed, built and fitted by trailblazer and entrepreneur Mick Ebeling, Project Daniel’s mission began after Ebeling read about Daniel’s story in a news article. As the founder and CEO of Not Impossible, Ebeling knew he needed to help, Daniel’s story exemplified Not Impossible’s mission to use “technology for the sake of humanity.”
Traveling with 3D printers, filament and some tools, and having trained with Robohand inventor Richard Van As, Ebeling brought the technology first to Yida Refugee Camp in South Sudan and then to a hospital in the conflicted zone of the Nuba Mountains where a war has raged for years and cost an estimated 50,000 people their limbs. With a philosophy of #HelpOneHelpMany, Not Impossible trained locals how to use the technology, and launched the world's first 3D-printing prosthetic lab and training facility.
Costing just $100 USD in materials, arms can be printed over the course of a day or two. In the past year alone, despite civil flare-ups in the South, and a bombing raid on the hospital that houses the equipment, the trained locals have printed over a dozen limbs for their own local community.
The work of Project Daniel has just begun, with its impact resonating through the global movement it has helped to lead. Ebeling remarks, “The thing I'm most excited about is this has awoken the realization that helping people gain access to solutions is not limited to big corporations and institutions. If we can continue to show people that technology is not this foreign, inaccessible thing, but is something that is very real and can help individuals in their worlds, then Project Daniel is just the first fuse lit for the many ideas to come.”
The life-changing project made with the support of Precipart and Intel, and which became the subject of Intel’s “Look Inside: Mick Ebeling” campaign, rose to global prominence swiftly, hitting 420 million earned media impressions in 14 weeks and scaling 800 million within 6 months of its CES launch.
Project Daniel has also resonated with juries worldwide, earning the team a host of awards, including the prized Titanium Cannes Lion, along with 1 Gold Lion (Product Design) and 3 Bronze Lions (Branded Content, Film and Cyber). Prior to Cannes 2014, Project Daniel garnered prizes including AICP’s Next Cause Marketing Award (from which the work enters the permanent film archives at New York’s Museum of Modern Art); 2014 One Show Gold Pencils for both Design and Intellectual Property & Products (tying for “Best in Show”); the 2014 Silver Telly and Bronze Telly Award; the 2014 Maker Faire Editor’s Choice Blue Ribbon for creativity, ingenuity and innovation; and a personal honor for Mick Ebeling as the 2014 Muhammad Ali Humanitarian of the Year.