Cross-posted from Duke Today.
Kaylyn McGuyrt of Wake Forest, North Carolina, lost her arm in an ATV accident. She now has a clinical-grade prosthetic arm, but many aspects of her job as a cake decorator -- from spinning a cake stand to rolling out fondant -- are difficult.
Thanks to a new collaboration between Red Hat, Inc., and Duke University, Duke students are designing a new prosthetic that will help the 26-year-old in her work and other daily tasks.
The collaboration between Red Hat, the Duke Innovation & Entrepreneurship Initiative (Duke I&E) and Duke’s Social Science Research Institute brings new open source principles and methodologies to Duke’s campus. A $180,000 gift from Red Hat will help support courses, grants and internships through the Open Source Pedagogy, Research + Innovation (OSPRI) program at the university.
“The open-source movement can be a powerful platform for rapid and transformational change,” said Eric Toone, vice provost and director of Duke I&E. “The evolution of the approach has afforded exciting examples of its power, such as a host of innovative approaches in 3D printing and the creation of R, the open source programming language for big data. Red Hat has been a leading proponent of open source since its inception in 1993, and we are delighted to join with them in this exciting project.”
The Red Hat gift will assist students who have project ideas that use open-source software to advance humanitarian issues. For instance, a group of student volunteers at Duke called eNABLE, who make prosthetics using 3D printers, recently received a $2,000 grant to help people like McGuyrt.
Duke seniors Richard Beckett-Ansa and Henry Warder, co-founders of the Duke chapter of eNABLE, worked with McGuyrt to devise a prosthetic with various attachments, with each attachment created for the completion of a different task. The prosthetic is being built in Duke’s Innovation Co-Lab, which partners with OSPRI to help student grant recipients advance their ideas and build products.
Red Hat recently produced an award-winning documentary, “eNABLE: Open Technology, Faster Progress,” for its Open Source Stories film series.
“It’s exciting to see what these students have been able to do in a short time,” said Aria Chernik, the OSPRI director. “Their grant money can go a long way because they’re able to produce prosthetics at a lower cost. That’s the amazing thing about open source; the code is already there.”
OSPRI will also offer courses centered on open source culture that will count toward Duke I&E’s certificate program. The first course, “The 21st Century Student: Open Knowledge and Education Innovation,” made its debut this fall. The next course will study open government and will be available next spring.
“The impact of collaborative, open source innovation can be seen across industries, and it is enabling advancement and new approaches to solving complex problems,” said Tom Callaway, University Outreach lead, Red Hat. “Red Hat is happy to have contributed to Duke’s efforts in this area to help a new generation to tap into the potential open source offers.”