3D Printing Beyond Vision
When 3D printing technologies are at the heart of everything you do on a day-to-day basis for a number of years it can be difficult to be impressed by ‘new’ applications, you think you’ve seen it all. So when an application that makes me stand up and take note comes along it must be shared!
A video posted by Graphics Systems Corporation, a Stratasys reseller, outlines an application for 3D printing I had not come across; the 3D printing of mistake proof fixtures in order to get the visually impaired into work.
We’ve seen a number of applications dedicated to accessibility, items like Robohand, or self-created assistive design pieces from Hereward College but this particular case is a mixture of the MyMiniFactory story of 3D printing illustrations from children’s books and the Todd Grimm column on 3D printing of the mundane.
Using Poka-Yoke - the Japanese term for mistake proofing - the engineers at the Milwaukee-based social enterprise, Beyond Vision, are modelling and 3D printing blind-friendly fixtures for assemblies that mean the operator can only place the component in the correct way. This allows a visually impaired person to perform jobs previously not available to them.
“We’ve taken the poka-yoke theory to a different level.” – Jim Kerlin, President & CEO, Beyond Vision.
By 3D printing the poka-yoke fixtures using Stratasys FDM technologies Beyond Vision has increased productivity at Beyond Vision by 20%. They are not stopping there with the 3D printing of mistake proof fixtures either, the company also produce the fire exit routes on a printer to show their employees the correct escape routes.
“We’re all about creating job opportunities for people who are blind and I’d love to see a day when we’re doing enough 3D printing for ourselves and for other companies to create a blind job, or two, or three, and turn this into another way that we can extend our mission.” – Jim Kerlin, President & CEO, Beyond Vision.