The make-a-thon brings together designers, makers, technology industry leaders and Veterans who will use 3D printing technology to create and test prosthetic designs that meet the needs of Veterans with disabilities. Held over two days at the Hunter Holmes McGuire VA Medical Center on July 28 and 29, the completed designs will be presented on the afternoon of July 29 and reviewed by Veterans and an expert panel of judges from VA, Google.org, General Electric and Toyota.
One of the three challenges asks for designers to create a device that can dampen essential tremors when a Veteran is performing fine motor tasks. It’s an issue Army Veteran Cheryl Moses and Navy Veteran Kim Matthews deal with daily.
During the make-a-thon, participants will be given prototyping equipment, along with mentoring from technical experts and Veterans to help co-design and develop their ideas. Event collaborators, including America Makes, 3D Systems, and Stratasys, will supply 3D printers, which will allow for onsite device manufacturing and empower teams to easily develop, test and refine designs with Veterans’ input. One feature of note will be the Girls’ Lounge Experience, which will highlight female Veterans, scientists, technologists and engineers. Personalized prosthetics will be made specifically to suit the needs of female Veterans.
The other challenges VA is soliciting design assistance to solve are the creation of a medication pillbox that allows the flexibility to hold medications that need to be taken up to eight times a day with a reminder system for each time medication needs to be taken and a device to remotely change the speed and grip strength of a prosthetic device for Veterans with upper extremity injuries.