3D Printing Hope: Seeking to Change Veterans’ Lives with a Design Challenge


MINNEAPOLIS & REHOVOT, Israel–()–Stratasys
(Nasdaq: SSYS), a global leader in additive technology solutions,
sponsored and took part in a 72-hour “Makers for Heroes Make-a-Thon”
event in Tel Aviv. The event sought to develop devices and find
solutions for various challenges veterans face as a result of injuries
received while in service.

Solutions were tailored to participating veterans’ needs, with a variety
of professionals sharing skills to address particular challenges faced
by each veteran. The event was organized by RESTART, a non-profit
organization that aids veterans with physical disabilities by helping
them disengage from the injury cycle and restore their lives. An
additional partner, Challenge America, assisted wounded veterans from
the U.S.

The first-of-its-kind international Make-a-Thon brought together wounded
veterans from the U.S., France and Israel, with innovation teams using
3D printing and other design and fabrication processes. Teams included
representatives from companies including designers, programmers,
engineers, physiotherapists, medical doctors, and psychologists. The
event was held April 30 to May 2 at Impact Labs, a technological
community center for product development, in Tel Aviv.

Helping one veteran by finding a solution can often assist many others
with similar problems. The event’s goal was to create 3D printed
solutions that could be later developed into products for wider use.
Following the event, solutions that serve a wider need may be developed
for replicable products through the TOM Platform (Tikkun
Olam Makers
Platform) worldwide. TOM develops and distributes
affordable products for people with a range of disabilities.

“3D printing is a perfect fit for this type of endeavor because it
excels at producing customized and personalized designs,” says Arita
Mattsoff, Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility at Stratasys.
“You can quickly and economically 3D print your idea and make design
iterations that result in a custom fit for each person.”

“Our team included eight volunteer employees to staff one of twelve
innovation teams,” continued Mattsoff. “Stratasys encourages employee
engagement for community, which is a key part of the company’s Corporate
Social Responsibility (CSR) program and culture. The CSR program engages
employees to take part in societal change and help make an impact.”
Stratasys volunteers came from various disciplines, including
innovation, technology, healthcare, human resources and IT.

While the veterans come from different armies, their feelings are
universal. Each suffers similar frustrations from their injuries. Henri
served in the French Army Patrol and lives with a severe leg injury from
service in Afghanistan. He was looking for a solution, such as a cast or
other equipment that would help him function better regularly, improve
his walking and reduce his constant pain. Zarita, 33, Injured shortly
after returning from Afghanistan during extreme training, had a car
accident while traveling to her duty station. Before she was injured,
Zarita loved to dance, and she wished to recover this favorite form of
expression. Due to her conditions, she suffers from dizzy spells and
could no longer dance for fear of falling and injuring herself. She
needed a stabilizing dance “companion” that would allow her to move
freely, yet prevent her from falling.

The Stratasys volunteers backed Team Noam, named for a
33-year-old Israeli veteran who lost his leg in mortar fire. Noam’s hope
was to redesign his wheelchair in a way that would improve the balance
for better performance as part of a Paralympics’ tennis team.

The event concluded May 2, with exciting solutions created by all 12 of
the challenge groups. Team Noam reported that it successfully built a
solution to customize Noam’s wheelchair to better balance it for tennis
play. It was accomplished by designing a removable counterweight that
attaches to the chair when needed. The design mimics the weight
distribution of a leg, and attaches to the chair adjacent to Noam’s left
leg. The solution was built by a 3D scan of Noam’s sitting position
followed by 3D printing several iterations of the design enabling
adaptations, using Stratasys FDM thermoplastic, and covering it all with
breathing fabric and memory foam. The solution will enable Noam to
pursue his dream to better compete in the Paralympics.

With the help of a custom support device, developed at the maker event,
Zarita is now able to dance again as shown in this video
taken at the closing ceremony of the event. In addition, help was found
for several other challenges, including a solution for a veteran who
sustained a back injury 16 years ago and dreamed of returning to surf.
She will now be able to do so thanks to an adapted surfboard. Another
who suffered a spinal cord injury and since then has been moving only in
a wheelchair, will now be able to stand with the help of a mobile
device. Yet another veteran, who suffers from PTSD and anxiety, needed
to have help to identifying the moments before an anxiety attack occurs.
From the Make-a-Thon, he received an application for his smart watch
that identifies when an attack is approaching and can even help prevent
the attack.

About Impact Labs
Impact Labs is a technological community
center for the development of products by the Reut Group and WeWork. The
center holds dozens of 3D printers and technologies necessary for
carpentry, metalwork, sewing, robotics, laser cutting, and more.

About RESTART
The initiative was founded by “RESTART,” a
non-profit organization, which aids wounded soldiers in disengaging from
the injury cycle and restoring their lives. The organization’s primary
focus is connecting injured soldiers and veterans to leaders in the tech
and business sectors in order to work together in developing innovative
means to improve their quality of life, following a variety of injuries.
Makers for Heroes is RESTART’s flagship initiative. This is done in
partnership with the Reut Group initiative TOM: Tikkun Olam Makers,
which develops and distributes affordable products for people with a
range of disabilities..

Stratasys is a global leader in additive technology solutions for
industries including Aerospace, Automotive, Healthcare, Consumer
Products and Education. For nearly 30 years, a deep and ongoing focus on
customers’ business requirements has fueled purposeful innovations —
1,200 granted and pending additive technology patents to date — that
create new value across product lifecycle processes, from design
prototypes to manufacturing tools and final production parts. The
Stratasys 3D printing ecosystem of solutions and expertise — advanced
materials; software with voxel level control; precise, repeatable and
reliable FDM and PolyJet 3D printers; application-based expert services;
on-demand parts and industry-defining partnerships — works to ensure
seamless integration into each customer’s evolving workflow. Fulfilling
the real-world potential of additive, Stratasys delivers breakthrough
industry-specific applications that accelerate business processes,
optimize value chains and drive business performance improvements for
thousands of future-ready leaders. Corporate headquarters: Minneapolis,
Minnesota and Rehovot, Israel. Online at: www.stratasys.com,
http://blog.stratasys.com and
LinkedIn.

Stratasys and MakerBot are registered trademarks, and the Stratasys
signet is a trademark of Stratasys Ltd. and/or its subsidiaries or
affiliates. All other trademarks are the property of their respective
owners.

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