Students at Hereward College in Coventry have turned ideas into reality by experimenting with additive layer manufacturing (commonly known as 3D printing) and adaptive systems so they can create assistive equipment to support movement in their daily routines.
By learning to use computer-assisted design technology through sessions with staff and students from the University of Warwick, a group of students with restricted physical movement have come up with solutions to every-day challenges such as eating and drinking which they can then print out with the click of a button.
Designs include a straw-holder, created by 21-year-old Hereward residential student Ollie Baskaran, to help keep a straw in place when he drinks from a bottle. The simple design allows him to enjoy a beer or a soft drink from a variety of different bottles.
Ollie, who suffers from Muscular Dystrophy, said
“you can literally think of something and a few minutes later, it is in your hand.”
“Without 3D printing, I would never have been able to get the idea professionally designed and manufactured as it would have cost too much. This technology opens up so many possibilities to make life easier for people with disabilities.”
This project saw fruition after an idea within the Access Research & Development Department at Hereward College, supported by Warwick University’s expertise and a wider Warwick drive to engage with groups of learners who are currently under-represented in science and technology at degree level.
The 3D printing project, entitled “Engaging Young People with Assistive Technologies,” has been running since September and has received funding from the University of Warwick. A 3D printer has been donated to Hereward College by 3D Systems.