3D Systems today announced that it is supporting the 3D printing project "Engaging Young People with Assistive Technologies," a program for students with physical disabilities at Hereward College in Coventry, United Kingdom. Since September 2013, this project has been empowering physically challenged students through 3D printing technology to help them design objects that make everyday life easier. The project is funded by the University of Warwick.
Hereward College students who suffer from conditions such as muscular dystrophy, can find tasks such as drinking from a glass or bottle difficult, even when using a straw. Through this 3D printing project they are learning to design and print useful implements that can help them overcome these challenges using their CubeX 3D printer from 3D Systems.
For example, twenty-one-year-old Hereward residential student Ollie Baskaran, from Leatherhead in Surrey, designed and 3D printed a bespoke straw holder with the help of his tutor Russell Smith. Shaped like a cork stopper with a hole in the middle, the simple design allows Ollie to enjoy a drink from a variety of different bottle shapes.
Ollie said, "Because I have limited strength, I need to use a straw to drink. But often when I lift and tip a bottle, the straw moves around, which makes drinking difficult. I wanted to design something that would hold the straw in place. To be honest, I'm surprised nobody has come up with this idea before. It took less than an hour to get all the measurements I needed and to create the design, which then took about 20 minutes to 3D print. Without 3D printing, it would have cost too much to get my idea professionally designed and manufactured. This technology opens up so many possibilities to make life easier for people with disabilities."
"It is great to see 3D printing powering projects such as this that allow students with disabilities to improve their lives while learning STEM skills that are crucial for their future employment," said Leanne Gluck, Director of Social Impact, 3DS.
Warwick's Project Officer, Diane Burton, said, "We are very grateful to 3D Systems for their 3D printer donation and on-going support. It has been vital in inspiring students at Hereward to create their own innovative products. This has really extended their skills and increased their interest in science and technology."
In conjunction with the Access Research & Development Department at Hereward College, the project is delivered by the Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG), which has extensive expertise in additive layer manufacturing, and the Department of Computer Sciences, which has strength in adaptive systems (designing software and systems around an individual's particular needs). The project is part of a wider initiative by the University of Warwick to engage with groups of learners that are currently under-represented in science and technology at the university degree level.
Learn more about 3D Systems commitment to education today.
Notes to Editors:
More details about the Engaging Young People with Assistive Technologies project can be found here: http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/services/academicoffice/ourservices/saro/wp/heat/stemprogramme/assistivetech