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TOG LAB: 3D printing for special needs

Healthcare professionals are the new geek
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TOG and technologies

Located in Milan, Together To Go Onlus Foundation was established in 2011 with the mission of creating a center for the rehabilitation of children with complex neurological diseases, who have difficulties and needs in main human skills: the motor, cognitive, behavioral and communicative fields. Therefore, they require rehabilitation.

To such a purpose, TOG has been collaborating in the latest years with the fab lab OpenDot, with the aim of thinking and co-designing careables that can really improve both the life quality of children and the efficacy of their rehabilitation. Everything started when TOG got a 3d printer to make several solutions like child seats or orthopedic brace. Before the introduction of 3d printing, these objects were made by hand and are of plaster, meaning that they were heavy, hard to clean and not replicable.

The advantages of 3D printing in TOG practises are many: the solutions are lighter, easier to clean, replicable, adaptable, and, above all, they are beautiful. And this is a really essential factor because beauty generates social inclusion: children with disabilities who use beautiful and colorful aids come into contact more easily with their classmates and friends, improving their daily lives.

Step by step

The process has a few simples steps:

  • The child need

TOG team of healthcare professional talks with families about the child’s need: what need is it? how urgent is it?

  • Plaster cast

The therapist makes a body casting with plaster, that must be as precise and comfortable as possible. This is the longest and most delicate phase because the plaster has to be customized.

  • Scanning and 3d modelling

At this point, the therapist scans the plaster and thanks to a special software we can have the 3d model. The 3D model is unique and customized on a single child and it fits to all specific needs connected to each disease.

  • Printing

The final phase is 3D printing. The printing of this type of orthopedic aid can last up to 20 hours.

The Foundation received in November 2018, as a donation, a new 3d printer which represents a great improvement for the manufacturing processes of the aids. This printer is bigger and much more efficient than the previous one. Thanks to its dimensions we can make a child seat in a shorter time and optimize the printing process in a single final phase.

 

STORY BY

Chiara Bernini

PHOTOGRAPHY BY

Chiara Bernini

COVER PHOTO

Using a 3dprinted child seat at TOG

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