May 1, 2018 | By David

A landmark tech event being held in Israel this week will see some 200 volunteers, including programmers, engineers, physiotherapists, doctors, psychologists, put their heads together to find solutions to challenges faced by war veterans. 3D printing technology should play a key role in the proceedings, as the volunteers develop ways to help 12 different veterans, of whom seven are Israeli, four American and one French. The "Makers for Heroes" initiative was organized by RESTART, a non-profit organization that helps soldiers break out of the injury cycle and get back to their normal routines.

We've reported before on the advantages of 3D printed devices for providing custom solutions to help wounded soldiers regain some independence. A key part of the Makers for Heroes event is the use of 3D printing to develop prototypes in order to help out these 12 veterans. The volunteers are organized into teams, each assigned to a specific problem faced by the injured soldiers, and they have three days to come up with a way to tackle it. If their 3D printed prototype proves successful, it will then be developed further after the event.

Bringing together the tech, medical, and business communities with veterans in this way is a good way to increase the knowledge based about the specific, everyday issues that are faced by people injured in combat. It also provides inspiration and motivation to the veterans themselves, making them feel they are part of a community and that they can make changes to their lives.

Organizer Niv Efron is an IDF veteran who was shot in his wrist and chest during the 2014 Gaza conflict, and was left with a non-functional left hand. Efron himself was the subject of one of RESTART’s earlier pilot projects.

"They built a device to help me do pull-ups," he said. "Most people don’t do pull-ups, but as a combat soldier I used to practice and do pull-ups on a daily basis... It is not only being able to do something again suddenly that makes a difference. It is also understanding that there is no limit to what you can do. You realize that you can find a solution, it just depends on your motivation."

Another veteran in attendance is Ron Weinreich, an IDF tank commander whose spine was injured during the Second Lebanon War, when a building collapsed on his tank. He has been confined to a wheelchair ever since, and at the event he will be working with the volunteers in order to tackle two of the major issues he faces. One will involve the creation of a standing frame that he can wheel his chair up to, to help him stand upright. Weinreich is a pianist, and the other project will involve the development of an electrical system that will be activated by his own nerve signals in his legs, to enable him to press on the piano pedals.

(source: Times of Israel)

The event is being held at Tel Aviv’s Impact Labs, a technological community center for the development of products run by the Reut Group and WeWork. The center has dozens of 3D printers as well as the equipment necessary for carpentry, metalwork, sewing, robotics and laser cutting. Israeli 3D printing giant Stratasys will be providing the event with more of its 3D printing systems as well as expert volunteers to help out with the 3D design and printing side of things.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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