Feb 26, 2016 | By Tess

Recently, 3D printer company Makerbot compiled a short list of notable creations from their online 3D design community Thingiverse. While we often write about useful or interesting 3D designs from Thingiverse, Makerbot’s list was special for emphasizing its student creations, 3D printed objects made by kids from grades K-12. The student made 3D designs on the list included an impressively detailed miniature model of Rome’s famous Colosseum, a 3D printed music box, an educational model of a bacteriophage, and most notably, two designs created for the sole purpose of helping people with disabilities.

The two aforementioned 3D printed tools include a 3D printed medication bottle opener, and a 3D printed fork with supports designed for people with Parkinson’s Disease, which were designed and created by 17 year old Matt, and 16 year old Brian, respectively. Both 3D printed objects, both functional and designed to help people, remind us how vibrant the world of young makers is. As Makerbot states on its blog about their showcased young makers, “any one of these student 3D designers now has the skill to design tomorrow’s game-changing innovation.”

Matt, 17, who designed the 3D printed medication bottle opener was inspired to create the device because his father, who suffers from Multiple scleroses (MS) struggled to open run-of-the-mill pill bottles. The cross shaped opener, which is designed to fit over the grooves of pill bottle caps, makes opening tricky pill bottles a cinch for his father, and maybe someday other MS afflicted people. According to Makerbot’s blog, Matt has already been approached by sales representatives who are seeking to commercialize and market his design.

Brian, 16, designed his special 3D printed fork, the Easy Fork, with the goal of helping people who suffer from Parkinson’s Disease, a degenerative disorder that affects people’s motor skills. Inspired by his grandfather who has the disease, and noticing the difficulty he has eating with a regular fork, Brian set out to design a utensil that would be practical and efficient for him and others with the disorder. Though utensils for people with disabilities do already exist, Brian found the existing models to be unnecessarily expensive and poorly designed, so took it upon himself to use his 3D modeling skills to create something better.

As he explains to Edtech, “I had the idea that if I could create a fork that anyone could use, with extra support to make it more difficult to drop unwillingly, that it could help him out and make him more independent.”

Both Matt and Brian are extremely passionate about 3D printing and have started at young ages. Matt, who received his own 3D printer for his 16th birthday, has been playing with 3D modeling programs such as Autodesk since his sophomore year and is excited to keep working with the technology. "I could probably write essays for months about the applications and benefits of bringing 3D printers into the medical field,” he says. “But the application I'd most like to see is the ability to 3D print working organs and other essential body tissues such as myelin, the coating around your spine that can get attacked when one has MS, like my father."

Brian who wants to pursue a career in engineering with a focus on additive manufacturing technologies has become acquainted with the technology through his school’s science and tech programs and he hopes that the technology will continue to become more mainstream and accessible to everyone.

Three other incredible examples of student designs include:

- Miniature Colosseum by utechlab team in Greece

- 3D Printed Music Box by Yuval, a 15-year-old from Israel - The music box is designed to play a specific tune, and, amazingly, produces sound from its plastic body.

- and Educational Model of A Bacteriophage by 13-year-old Aidan.

Everyday at 3Ders we see what amazing things can be created with the help of 3D printing technology, though sometimes it is the smallest things, such as a bottle opener to help MS patients, or a fork that Parkinson’s patients can easily hold, that make us really appreciate the power of 3D printing; the power of bringing ideas to reality for people from any walks of life.



Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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