Dec 15, 2014 | By Simon

It's not very often when you hear about a 3D printing startup going out of their way to help with charitable causes, but then again, Voovo isn't your average 3D printing startup, either.

The Toronto-based startup, which is focused on making the storefront experience easy for 3D content creators wanting to sell their 3D prints, has launched a charity initiative this month that allows users around the globe to pick from one of four 3D printable Christmas ornaments after making a small donation to a Toronto-based children's hospital.

The initiative, which is being done in partnership with MakeLab, features ornament designs that were hand-picked by the Children's Council at the SickKids Foundation. Founded in 1972, the foundation seeks to inspire communities to invest in health and scientific advances to improve the lives of children and their families in Canada and around the world.

To kick off the drive, Voovo held a "Yay! Its a #3D holiday crafts day" at the SickKids hospital, which featured 100 3D printed ornaments for children to paint and decorate while also learning about 3D printing in the process.

"It was like Christmas for us," said Phil Raffi, Voovo co-founder and CEO. "Just to see all those kids coming in, smiling and laughing, put a massive smile on our faces."

It wasn't just the kids who had questions about 3D printers, either. According to Raffi, the event marked the first time that the children's parents had seen a 3D printed object, too.

"Some of the questions they were asking about the 3D printers were interesting, and even the parents were surprised by it. They pulled us aside and said, 'We've heard about 3D printing, but this is the first time we've ever seen it."

While the event surely helped bring the holiday spirit to the kids and their families, it was also an opportunity to showcase the booming potentials of 3D printing in the medical sector.

The SickKids hospital recently opened their own 3D printing laboratory and among others at the hospital who have already taken advantage of the new equipment is cardiac radiologist Dr. Shi-Joon Yoo, along with his team of cardiac imaging specialists.

More recently, the team has been using 3D printing to create exact replicas of children's hearts so that surgeons can perform preoperative simulations of real-world surgical procedures.

In support of Dr. Yoo's efforts to use 3D printing as a communication tool, Voovo wants to donate the money raised from their 3D printed ornament campaign to him and his team to further expand their efforts.

Whether or not you've already finished decorating your tree this season, consider donating to the SickKids Foundation before the end of the month over at Voovo.

Posted in 3D Printing Applications


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