You may have seen it by now. The video of 4-year-old Emma who couldn’t use her arms to eat, play or hug until a custom exoskeleton was 3D printed to fit her. It’s just one example of how engineers contribute to society.
Although engineers and designers strive to create devices that improve upon previous solutions, I’ve noticed their motivation often comes from more than perfecting mechanisms. What drives them is a desire to make a difference: to have an impact on something greater than the devices they create. Engineers want their products to help somebody – whether it’s improving their lives or simply enabling them to do their jobs better.
I recently saw a news report saying one of the reasons young women aren’t likely to pursue engineering careers is because they believe they wouldn’t be directly helping anyone. This is an unfortunate perception. We regularly see examples of how everyday heroes make products that keep civilization running and improve it. Satisfaction may come simply from creating a reliable product that can run in the field maintenance-free and help the end user.
Although not every engineering story is like Emma’s, hers gives us a chance to pause for a moment and really feel good about what we do. When we share stories like this within our company, we get lots of feedback from our team, saying how important it is to them to know our product has helped another’s life.
Here are three real comments we got from Stratasys employees yesterday about Emma’s story:
- Great story! Would love to hear more stories like this, makes those hard days’ worth it!
- Nice. I love this stuff. Keep it coming. Keeps giving the team something to talk about. Thanks.
- Thank you for sending this information out. I don’t often take time to watch these videos while at work but I took time today because I wanted to see how we’re making a difference. It’s a very moving story.
Throughout August, the Stratasys communication team plans to call attention to some of the ways 3D printing improves lives. It will share several stories via the Stratasys Facebook page. I hope you have a chance to see some of them.