Made4You: improving your life in a Fab Lab

Gijs Boerwinkel

Healthcare demands and solutions are changing rapidly. On the one hand, we see an urge for patients and care professionals to design more customized and tailor-made solutions. On the other hand, the maker movement is designing ‘open hardware’, as product design is being democratized, opened up and accessible for a growing community. These two forces will be bundled and brought together through Made4You.

Full potential
This week the 3-year project, funded by the European Commission, had its official kick-off in Fab Lab Berlin. At the first official meeting of the consortium, plans were laid out for the coming period, ambitions where stated and dreams were shared. The project has no illusions of replacing or changing the complex reality of healthcare systems. But often patients use care solutions that do not fit their needs in terms of use, cost or aesthetics.

The innovative power of users and care professionals combined with Fab Labs and open hardware is not being used to its full potential yet. Made4You will change that.

In Made4You, Fab Labs and makerspaces collaborate with patients and professionals to create personalised solutions and open source knowledge that will improve the live of many patients and professionals in Europe and the world. Accessible, comprehensive and easy to use open source hardware will be documented, collected and shared through the central platform 'Careables'. This platform will grow into a central hub and function not only as repository for well documented open hardware projects. It will offer many different communities a place to connect and exchange knowledge, needs and co-create solutions.

It's easy to think of open hardware solutions that make a difference in people's lives. An example of this is OPEN LIGHTS. This project offers people in wheelchairs an open source solution for wheelchair specific light that make them better visible at night. OPEN LIGHTS offers wheelchair users adjustable hardware that can be built with most common DIY technologies. 

Partners
The Made4You project is a combination of experienced partners with extensive networks in the relevant fields:

WeVolver is the core partner to provide the expertise in online collaboration and community building around accessible open-source hardware.

OpenDot is a Milan-based Fab Lab with a well-organized maker community, connected to the user interaction designers of DotDotDot.

Makea Industries runs the Open Innovation Space in Berlin, with many projects and an active maker community at Fab Lab Berlin.

Global Innovation Gathering is a network of innovators and makers affiliated with Fab Labs, Makerspaces and hackerspaces located in the Global South. The GIG-network develops innovative solutions in healthcare, education and sustainability.

As rehabilitation centre, Together to Go represents healthcare professionals and users. They provide rehabilitation treatment for children with neurological disorders and their families, using new methods and techniques.

Zentrum für Social Innovation is an independent research institute specialised in measuring social impact of responsible research.

Catholic University of Leuven brings in extensive experience in privacy and information law, which is crucial in dealing with healthcare related issues online.

Waag is an institute for technology, science and arts. We bring in expertise on what people need to develop personalised solutions for their healthcare challenges. Furthermore, we focus on enlarging and connecting the different communities strategically. This is a prerequisite for individuals, makers and healthcare professionals to strengthen each other in multidisciplinary making and innovation.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 780298.

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