emma-magic-arms2

emma-magic-arms2

Michigan Tech’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering has an interesting challenge out to the 3D printing community in the form of their 3D Printers for Peace Contest. From their site:

3D printing is changing the world. Unfortunately, the only thing many people know about 3D printing is that it can be used to make guns. We want to celebrate designs that will make lives better, not snuff them out.

What is the Printers for Peace Contest?
We are challenging the 3D printing community to design things that advance the cause of peace. This is an open-ended contest, but if you’d like some ideas, ask yourself what Mother Theresa, Martin Luther King, or Gandhi would make if they’d had access to 3D printing.

∗low-cost medical devices
∗tools to help pull people out of poverty
∗designs that can reduce racial conflict
∗objects to improve energy efficiency or renewable energy sources to reduce wars over oil
∗tools that would reduce military conflict and spending while making us all safer and more secure
∗things that boost sustainable economic development (e.g. designs for appropriate technology in the developing world to reduce scarcity)

Pictured above, for instance, is Emma Lavelle, who was able to gain the use of her underdeveloped arms with a custom 3D-printed ABS plastic exoskeleton. Using hinged metal bars and resistive rubber bands, the WREX exoskeleton gives patients with underdeveloped muscles a wide range of arm motion. The original WREX, made from machined parts, fit children as young as six, but for smaller children like Emma, researchers discovered they could 3D-print smaller, lighter parts. Printed using a Stratasys Dimension 3D printer, the ABS plastic exoskeleton allows for easy customization and fine-tuning.

The deadline for submitting entries is September 1, 2013, and winners are to be announced on September 4. First prize is a fully assembled Type A Series 1 3D printer. Second prize is a Michigan Tech MOST version of the RepRap Prusa Mendel 3D printer kit. And third prize is a MatterHackers filament sampler pack.

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