British charity Motivation have launched fundraising for a 3D printed wheelchairs project aimed at improving access to assistive technologies in developing countries.
Run in partnership with 3D printer manufacturer Ultimaker, the Motivation InnovATe project aims to establish the technologies, infrastructure and skills within developing countries to produce tailor-made 3D printed wheelchairs. It is being part-funded with UK aid from the UK government through the AT2030 programme.
Through local partner Bethany Kids, designers, engineers and clinicians are trialling the new digital system in Kenya to produce bespoke backrests and wheelchair frames for individual users.
Wheelchair users will be measured using specialist tools, including a seating simulator, with the resulting data fed into an automated design program to automatically generate models of the required parts which will then be produced using the 3D printer. These parts, the chassis and seating unit, will then be fitted together using aluminium tubes to create made-to-measure wheelchairs.
By producing the wheelchairs locally to their recipients, each one can be designed to suit its owner’s needs, while also preventing the time delays normally associated with shipping internationally to developing countries.