Following the Bay Area Makeathon, MakerBot’s Thingiverse Community
expands upon winning designs to create life-changing devices for people
BROOKLYN, N.Y.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–MakerBot
Thingiverse, the world’s largest 3D design community, is pleased
to announce the winning designs from the Assistive Technology Challenge.
The challenge asked the Thingiverse community to create 3D printed
devices for people with disabilities and make them available for others.
There are more than 200 million people with disabilities around the
world who experience considerable difficulties in handling everyday
tasks, and many of them can’t find off-the-shelf products that address
their needs1. 3D printing can help solve some of the problem
by providing the ability to create custom solutions at an affordable
Following more than 170 submissions, Tobias Wirtl’s Mouth
Operated Mouse is the winning design for the Assistive
Technology Challenge. After reading about difficulties people
with disabilities face in accessing new technologies, Wirtl wanted to
create a device that could enable more people with disabilities to use
the Web. A number of products on the market are geared toward helping
people with disabilities navigate the Internet, but they can be very
expensive making them out of reach for people who need them. Keeping
cost in mind, Wirtl’s mouth operated mouse was designed so people of all
economic backgrounds would be able to build one on their own or find
somebody to build it for them.
“There are many new technologies that people with disabilities can’t
access and in my opinion everyone should be able to benefit from today’s
media, especially the Internet,” said Tobias Wirtl, creator of the Mouth
Operated Mouse. “That’s why I decided to create a device that would
allow people to navigate the Web. Products like these sell for hundreds
of dollars. I created this one with one 3D printer and about $20 worth
of commonly available components.”
The mouth operated mouse moves the cursor by using a mouthpiece, which
works like a joystick. Pushing the mouthpiece towards the case operates
the right mouse button. The left mouse button is emulated by a sensor
that recognizes when the user sucks air through it. The system is
controlled by an Arduino Pro Micro and can be connected to virtually any
PC via USB.
Second Place – HU-GO
is a 3D printable wheelchair for people who live in third world
countries. Upon the creator’s visit to his home country of Chile, he
realized that many children and adults needed wheelchairs and had no way
of affording them. When he returned home, he started to evaluate his own
wheelchair and make small adjustments and additions to make it better.
Eventually he designed an affordable wheelchair that could be built
using a 3D printer and a number of household items. He hopes that his
design will make its way to countries with people in need, so they are
able navigate their neighborhoods and their lives with ease. The
wheelchair is comprised of 3D printed parts, plywood, zip ties and
household items like socks and flour bags for cushioning.
Third Place – According to the inventor of Assistive
Devices for Assistive Dogs, it’s not just people that
need a helping hand – assistance dogs also need help manipulating
environments that aren’t designed for them. The Assistive Devices for
Assistive Dogs Starter Kit includes a 3D printable switch paddle, a door
knob puller and a set of scent coded training fobs that make it easier
for dogs to distinguish between multiple targets in a cluttered
“Each time we hold a MakerBot Thingiverse Challenge, we are amazed by
the things people create,” said Nadav Goshen, President at MakerBot.
“We’d like to thank everyone who participated in this challenge and we
encourage people to continue to create and expand upon these designs to
empower even more people around the world who have disabilities.”
The Assistive Technology Challenge began shortly after the Bay
Area Makeathon; a 72-hour event organized by Tikkun
Olam Makers (TOM) and United
Cerebral Palsy of the North Bay, and sponsored by Google.org.
The event produced groundbreaking
assistive devices for people with disabilities who can’t find or
afford off-the-shelf products to address their needs. MakerBot launched
Technology Challenge on Thingiverse to make these life-changing
inventions available to people with disabilities worldwide.
As the world’s largest 3D printing community, Thingiverse encourages
everyone to create and remix 3D things, no matter their technical
expertise or previous experience. In the spirit of maintaining an open
platform, all designs are encouraged to use a Creative
Commons license that lets others use and remix designs.
Pictures and more information about the winning designs are available on
Assistive Technology Challenge page.
MakerBot, a subsidiary of Stratasys
Ltd. (Nasdaq: SSYS), is leading the Next Industrial Revolution by
setting the standards in reliable and affordable desktop 3D printing.
Founded in 2009, MakerBot sells desktop 3D printers to innovative and
industry-leading customers worldwide, including engineers, architects,
designers, educators, and consumers. MakerBot has one of the largest
installed bases and market shares in the desktop 3D printing industry,
with more than 80,000 MakerBot Replicator 3D Printers in the world. The
robust MakerBot 3D Ecosystem makes 3D printing easy and accessible for
everyone. To learn more about MakerBot, visit makerbot.com.