“At Google.org, we support organizations that offer innovative solutions to complex challenges. We’re thrilled to back Motivation as they help build a world that works for everyone.” Brigitte Gosselink, Google.org

Tuesday 12th April 2016

Today we are delighted to announce a brand new collaboration with Google.org to explore how 3D printing can revolutionise mobility solutions for people with disabilities living in developing countries.

The application of 3D printing is already proving to be a force for good in the development sector, and now by teaming up with Google we are able to run a project looking at how 3D printing can be used to tailor mobility solutions for wheelchair users.

Motivation celebrates its 25th anniversary this year, and this new collaboration marks an exciting new phase of the charity’s journey, as we continue to work towards meeting the vision we set out with a quarter of a century ago – to create a world in which people with disabilities are included and can fully participate in all aspects of life.

For the last 25 years Motivation has evolved a unique approach to wheelchair provision combining industrial design with humanitarian programmes. We have gone from making wheelchairs in one local workshop in Bangladesh to helping to set the standard for wheelchair provision globally. We have shown the world that with the right wheelchair, training and support, even the most disadvantaged and vulnerable can lead full, healthy and productive lives.

Now with the support of Google’s philanthropic arm, Google.org, this project will allow Motivation to capitalise on advancements made in materials, technologies and manufacturing techniques to explore new ways to provide the right wheelchair in the right way, building on the great strides we have already made in the sector.

Commenting on the collaboration, Senior Designer at Motivation, Ian Harris said:

“We are delighted to be working with Google.org and believe that together we can really help wheelchair service providers in developing countries toward the goal of tailored postural support, reducing the risk of life threatening complications from poorly fitted chairs and dramatically increase mobility and independence.”

The 24 month project will develop and test a model for using 3D printing to create customised postural support devices, which will enable us to move towards a model where appropriate wheelchairs are adapted and fitted to the unique needs of the wheelchair user. Motivation will also engage in outreach and advocacy efforts to encourage broader adoption of 3D printing within its network and elsewhere across the sector if successful.

An integral part of the project is the piloting of a ‘Print Pod’ overseas, which will act as a temporary wheelchair clinic, kitted out with a 3D printer and raw materials. From here trained clinicians and technicians will access a protected online server of modifiable CAD files developed by Motivation design experts. The local team will be able to select a template from the online library, upload the individual component measurement data from the wheelchair user, and from these parameters the programme will generate a customised version that can be printed in country and fitted to the wheelchair. No need to wait for a container of products to be shipped overseas, no need to spend time manually adapting the component. All of this will hopefully reduce waiting times, eliminate storage issues and ultimately be more cost effective.

Brigitte Gosselink, Head of the Google Impact Challenge: Disabilities says of the collaboration:

“At Google.org, we support organizations that offer innovative solutions to complex challenges. We’re thrilled to back Motivation as they help build a world that works for everyone.”

Media Enquiries: Joanna Hall hall@motivation.org.uk

Project Enquiries: Jane Parker parker@motivation.org.uk