Every object in this world has been designed in a way that suits the way of the natural human body. The designers and inventors of our everyday usable objects no wonder have done an applaudable job. For example, have you ever wondered how beautifully the pen that you everyday use has been so precisely designed to be held with the thumb and index finger with some grip of the middle finger to get that perfect writing or the scissor that you use has the perfect finger holes to give you that perfect grip to hold it and get any cutting job done seamlessly? Now for a moment, imagine you are born with one missing thumb and try picturing holding a pen and trying to write, seems pretty much like the normal pen is not your everyday tool to write anymore isn't it? This is exactly the problem people are born with conditions like ectrodactyly, (wherein a person is born with the deficiency or absence of one or more central digits of the hand or foot) or conditions like syndactyly (the condition of having some or all of the fingers or toes wholly or partly united, either naturally (as in web-footed animals) or as a malformation) face each day with using the everyday objects which are not designed for their needs. This is a small example of problems faced by people with only two disabling conditions who are again only a small part of the 15% of the world population which is disabled in one form or the other.
Now I could state these above examples easily because these are some of the struggles that I face each day as I was born with ectrodactyly and syndactyly on my left hand. I have always been low key about my disability because I am privileged in many other ways and I was always told to count my blessings. Recently I moved to a whole different country and started living alone and my struggles have only increased especially while doing the household chores. If only the handle of the knife could be different so that I could seamlessly hold it while chopping the vegetables or the forceps that I use to hold the hot dishes could be a little bit different so that I could use it without struggle, using gloves and mittens are a struggle of whole different level or... I can go on and on.
These struggles might seem silly to a person who has never faced them. But they have shaped the course of my life. I was especially interested in Chemistry while I was a teenager but because holding and handling the test tubes, burettes, pipettes, and other chemistry labs equipment which were not designed for a person like me contributed to me not pursuing Chemistry at all. I can only imagine the plight of some other person like me who wanted to be a doctor or a tennis player.
The only easy career option for me was to become a computer science professional as using a small script I could easily change the keyboard layout to fit my hand's needs. The only solution for people like me would be to magically grow a natural hand with perfect fingers or wait for someone to design a perfect prosthetic hand. OR why not start designing building small custom physical enhancements that can integrate well with the existing products. For example, a gripper that could be 3D printed and attached to the handle of the knife that would aid in the easy chopping of the vegetables. Or a gripper that could be attached to a beaker by which it could easily be used in the lab.
The web portal I want to build is where people with conditions like mine can come and pitch their struggles, submit the photos of how they were born differently and work together to design extra attachments that could be designed collaboratively and then 3D printed.
- Design and develop a basic landing page calling people with disabilities from around the world to register in the portal.
- Design a basic 3D model for my use case of a scissor with custom finger holes and publish the design on website.
- Web Development.
- Basic understanding of product design.
- 3D Design and Modelling using Blender/Autodesk Maya/Max.
- Knowledge about 3D printers, printing materials.
- Brownie points if you have access to a 3D printer!