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Design your own pen holder

Making DIY healthcare prototypes in Amsterdam
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Make Health series

Waag and the Makehealth lab are one of the fablabs involved in the Careables platform since the beginning. In Amsterdam you can participate in their MakeHealth events and co-create prototypes all around care & health.

To give you an idea about what to create: in one of the last workshops, ten curious and inquisitive citizens gathered to create open solutions in healthcare. Often not much is needed for that! With a little foreknowledge but with a barrel full of enthusiasm you have come a long way.

The case of this evening was simple: design your own pen holder! Writing with a pen, that should be much easier and better? The standard pen grip that is taught to us at the primary school is often inconvenient and leads, especially after prolonged use, to pain and cramps. In addition, writing with a physical limitation is often not possible at all. Instead of taking this shortcoming for granted, as we are often accustomed to doing, we started to try and solve them by going through the steps of a design and development process in an evening.

Roll up your sleeves

Another prototype which enables to hold a pen while making a fist the fist

Picture: Waag (cc by-nc-sa)

The challenge our participants received was therefore to think about their personal situation, namely writing posture, grip, pressure, and anatomy and to design and realize a solution based on these starting points. For inspiration, Sanne Jungschläger, occupational therapist at the Spaarne Gasthuis, came by to talk about how digital manufacturing tools are changing the healthcare sector. With this extra knowledge the participants started with their personal challenge. Because why design only on paper, if you can also roll up the sleeves? Design by making!

At the end of the evening ten different prototypes had been developed, each designed for a specific problem and for a specific individual: people with writing cramps, tremors, a limited number of fingers, etc. By scanning the prototypes 3D in a personal tool is accessible for others who run into the same challenge. And all that in just one evening. Can you check how much you can get if you also dare to question other problems and inconveniences in life!


Joost Kaan


Waag (cc by-nc-sa)


Waag (cc by-nc-sa)


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