featured image

3D Printing Gives Power to People With Disabilities

3D printing has become all the rage in the news and around the internet! As the use of 3D Printing spreads, people have been touting the benefits of creating 3D printing prototypes, specifically for people with disabilities and the opportunities it opens for them. They know best what simple items or gadgets could make their lives a whole lot easier.

Take for example, Raul Krauthausen, who has a genetic bone disorder and uses a wheelchair full-time. Currently, he resides in Berlin, Germany – a location that is not particularly accessible and getting around on his own proved to be difficult and at times impossible without outside help.

Krauthausen took it upon himself to familiarize himself with his new 3D printer through watching on-line tutorials and practice. Though initially he was using it just for fun – it occurred to him that it could be put to better use making improvements in his own life.

“I decided to print a ramp because I am a wheelchair user. I often have problems getting into places with just one step in front of the entrance. I thought it would be good if I could carry one with me on the back of my wheelchair, not too big and not too heavy,” said Krauthausen.

His creation is essentially a portable pair of plastic triangle-shaped ramps, textured on one side to prevent tire slippage to help him over the occasional curb or step. The ramp prototype was a low-cost creation and took 26 hours to print on his 3D printer. After completion, Krauthausen shared his prototype on Thingiverse for others to benefit from and offer suggestions for improvement.

mini-ramp-3d-printed-1

Also new, in 3D printing is a new program offered at Warwick University through the Department of Computer Science. This program is geared specifically towards the disabled to encourage them to create devices that improve their quality of life.

The ‘Engaging Young People with Assistive Technologies’ program is still new, but already many exciting projects have been completed. An additional focus of the program is to encourage disabled students to continue furthering their education. Students with disabilities are underrepresented around the world at degree level in the science and technology fields.

Ollie Baskaran, a student at Warwick, created a special straw because of limited strength and the need to use a straw while drinking, he needed one that stayed stationary.

“I wanted to design something that would hold the straw in place and this was my brainwave. To be honest, I’m quite surprised nobody has come up with the idea before,” shares Baskaran. “The straw holder just makes it ten times easier to enjoy a drink.”

straw-holder-307

Baskaran’s creation took less than a half hour to take measurements and print out the prototype. 3D printing technology opens up so many possibilities to make life easier for people with disabilities and it will be interested to see what they come up with next.

To find out more about the ‘Engaging Young People with Assistive Technologies’ program at Warwick University click here.

To read more about Raul Krauthausen, 3D Ramp Prototype Creator, and his other ventures click here.

To check out the original story click here.