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Examples of 3D devices made at the OT Unit, Source: Gobierno de Castilla-La Mancha

Castilla-La Mancha promotes 3D maker culture

Castilla-La Mancha promotes 3D maker culture

3D printers aid occupational therapists at a specialized hospital there

More than 200 patients with reduced mobility are now seeing improvements in their quality of life thanks to the introduction of 3D technology at the Occupational Therapy Unit of the National Hospital for Paraplegics in Toledo. This hospital is dependent on the regional health authorities of Castilla-La Mancha, and the number quoted represents the people who have seen a benefit in the past year.

3D printers have made it possible to cheaply create parts and devices with a personalized design that are useful to people with mobility difficulties. People suffering, for example, from spinal cord injuries are able to improve their interactions with the environment thanks to such devices.

Maker culture is the DIY approach to using technology in a personalized manner

Research at the Occupational Therapy Unit on making this possible reportedly had been going on for three years. It involved collaboration with various start-ups and foundations, such as BQ, the FabLabs of Castilla-La Mancha (which helped produce the first designs), the Once and La Caixa Foundations, and the Czech 3DGE Lab (which provided the 3D technology).

The incorporation of a new 3D printer, the participation in the team of a specialist technician for the training of two Occupational Therapists in the design and lamination of 3D parts, updating the software, solving technical doubts and helping with the designs, was a boost for the initiative,” said Alberto Ubago, the supervisor of the OT Unit's Rehabilitation area.

Rosa Mota, the supervisor of the OT Unit, added: “The use of 3D technology has led to the modernization of the resources used by occupational therapists and has led to an increase in the involvement and support of the multidisciplinary team of professionals from the rehabilitation, design, computing and communication, for the benefit of patients. This type of action helps to place Occupational Therapy as a profession on the rise and with great possibilities”.

The government website of the Castilla-La Mancha region also informed that other associations and research centres, such as the University of Extremadura, have shown great interest in the developments and results from this initiative, likely with the possibility to recreate it elsewhere.

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