3D printing opens up a great deal of potential for creating customised products, tailored to the needs of the individual. One of the areas where this personalised approach has proved most valuable is assistive design.
We have seen many positive stories about how 3D printing is being used to solve everyday problems for people with a disability, from simple 3D printed, portable wheelchair ramps to amazing entire exoskeletons.
If you visited the TCT Show + Personalize in Birmingham this year you may have noticed some curious designs including a pot noodle holder and straw bungs featured in our Innovation Showcase. Those designs came from a collaboration between the University of Warwick and students at Hereward College. Using a CubeX 3D printer donated by 3D Systems and free basic CAD software, the students got to work designing simple products that would provide solutions to difficult everyday tasks.
The results included straw bungs in a range of sizes, 3D printed buttons designed by a visually impaired student to enable him to dress himself with confidence and a fork tailored to one student’s personalised needs. These custom products made a real difference to the students and 3D printing technology offered a greater sense of individuality that can often be missing from standard assistive products on the market.
In one of the most inspiring talks at this year’s TCT Show + Personalize 2014 Conference, Project Officer at the University of Warwick, Diane Burton shows how young people with complex needs are using 3D printing to design their own solutions to make simple products that solve everyday problems.