– Sketching smiles –

Technology at the service of society
by Carlos Lizarbe de Luis and David Muñoz | CIFP Don Bosco LHII


This good practise motivates students through a charity project, consisting of printing, building and donating low-cost hand or arm prostheses, using Ikaslab’s 3D printers.


At Don Bosco, we have been working with 3D printers since 2012. We have carried out many projects, but one that always grabbed our attention was building personalised, low-cost prostheses under the international charity project we volunteer for, Enabling the Future.

In the 14-15 year, a group of 10 1st-year ME students signed up for the project and built two prostheses for two people in Mexico. See video. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2HJY3HILFqU )

This year, 15-16, another 6 1st-year ME students volunteered, as well as one 1st-year Mechatronics student. They built a hand for Toni, a 4-year-old boy from Zaragoza, and an arm for Unai, a 9-year-old boy from A Coruña. There was great media coverage, and Don Bosco was on the front page all over the country as an innovative, flagship centre. Now we are making another two, one for a 30-year-old neighbour in Errenteria, and another for a 9-year-old girl in Valencia.


The project is entrepreneurial because students use cutting-edge technology (I3D) to improve the lives of disabled persons, giving them hope and joy. The students are entirely motivated and pour themselves into the project. They receive the acknowledgement of the families and society, which greatly increases their self-esteem and encourages them to continue to get involved in more innovative projects.


This practise is the result of the operational phase of the innovation project “Ikaslab,” showing how pertinent it is. It is innovative, and proof of this is how much the media covered it. In national public opinion, Basque VT is innovative, technologically cutting-edge and solidary. We bring the latest technology, not only to companies, but also to society.


We are conducting this project at DB with volunteer Electronics and Mechatronics students in the evenings. Volunteers from the school year prior impart knowledge to new students. It can be done at any centre with 3D printers. After the media boom, we have received many requests. We referred one to UGLE and another to a centre in Granada (because the recipient was nearby).


Through a real, useful and charitable project, we awaken the students’ interest in 3D technology (design, printing, scanner). This skill, increasingly required by companies, is naturally acquired. What’s more, with this project, they acquire other skills and values: teamwork, planning, communication (they are invited to speak at conferences), human values, etc.