Developing a hardware development platform for healthcare solutions

We’re happy to announce an incredible 3-year project that the Wevolver software will be supporting with the working title; “Made4You”
The 2.5 million euro project falls under the EU Horizon 2020 trajectory and is a consortium of universities, maker spaces, research and innovation centers.

The mission of Made4You is to enable citizens to co-design and deliver personalized, people-centered health solutions, using digital fabrication and establish the central hub for citizens worldwide to find open healthcare solutions.

Bottom-up digital social innovations are on the rise, including in healthcare. Innovators, users, and communities in healthcare are starting to collaborate by using digital technologies to co-create knowledge and solutions for a wide range of needs. These innovations are at a scale that was unimaginable before the rise of the Internet.

A great example is an eNable project, where the owner of a 3D printer used this technology to print a hand prosthesis, based on a prototype of early 1800’s. His technical information was published open source and adopted by a growing group of 3D printing engineers that provide people in need with customised 3D printed hand prosthesis.

eNable the future

Made for You will facilitate co-design of open healthcare for people with physical limitations. People’s needs regarding their physical limitations are personal, subjective and diversified. To customize healthcare solutions, a process of personalization is needed, which cannot be provided through the current industrial focus of ‘one size fits all’.

The project aims to:

  • Build an ecosystem, linking existing local communities of citizens with disabilities and their families, healthcare professionals and makers and establish collaboration between these separate communities to develop their own open source and license interventions.
  • Provide access to open source and digital fabrication tools enabling citizens with disabilities and healthcare professionals, in co-creation with designers and makers (DIY communities and maker spaces) to create customized self-made solutions to improve quality of life or services provided.
  • Improve the accessibility of open source products; co-production of products that are tailored to people with special needs or disabilities as well as healthcare professionals and bypassing the limitations of the classical industrial production.
  • Foster the ecosystem through the open exchange of knowledge, case stories and manuals. Within the DIY approach, local production and global knowledge sharing is key.
  • Build guidelines that allow anyone to replicate formats everywhere, considering the socio-technical aspects as well as relevant legal and regulatory frameworks, quality standards, IPR implications, security, safety and privacy issues.

The long-term goal is to affiliate a community of designers, users, fablabs and makerspaces who develop similar projects and replicate events and activities in various cities all around Europe or even globally. This process will produce a critical mass of projects that can be used and build upon: a knowledge-sharing platform that aims to achieve mass adoption and global impact.

Projects can be developed in local makerspaces

With the increasing number of open healthcare solutions, also the hardware development platforms that collect and share these bottom-up innovations are expanding.

These platforms offer a broad overview of needs that communities, healthcare professionals or patients have and provide information on how these needs were addressed, but they lack the infrastructure to collect, organize, publish and share the technical documentation to replicate a solution.

While the basic ingredients are available for social and collaborative innovation in healthcare, mass adoption is lacking that enables and supports customization and reproducibility of already existing and future grassroots healthcare solutions on a global scale.

The tech
Made4You will use the Wevolver software to build their technology upon. The Made4You platform will provide a central repository for sharing all project’s documentation including files, design descriptions, assembly guides and bills of materials, videos of the process, brief interviews with the developers. The version control system enables effective and secure iterations on the same project. With the versioning control, there is the ability to check what’s changed and what’s not, enabling how to parametrize files of a specific project, and to approach mass customization.

Version control will enable the community to iterate on the same project without risk of loss.

Made4You will provide an application to support and unify the documentation. This application is designed to allow users to collect and organize all contents needed in a convenient manner with ease of use. Users of the application can also spread and communicate their solution (via social media, video streaming, image capturing, events and crowdfunding campaigns). Furthermore, the platform enables both users and makers to comment on the project to give feedback on their user experiences or contribute to the project with additional insights. On the platform Made4You, existing social media channels and collaborative tools can be integrated, that support ease of use for citizens that are co-producing open healthcare solutions or are using one of them.

The kickoff of the project will be in January 2018. Over the course of 3 years, we will leverage the Wevolver technology to provide patients all over the world with customised healthcare solutions.

The project has built a very strong and multidisciplinary consortium. The consortium partners include: patient representative organization Togethertogo, that is a direct voice of a group of citizen active in open healthcare solutions; the Centre for Information Technologies & Intellectual Property Law and Ethics Department, founded in the faculty of Law of KU Leuven; and the Centre for Social Innovation, which is an independent research institute focusing on social innovation and impact.

The full list of partners are:

3 opendot, Italy
4 Global Innovation Gathering, Germany
6 Wevolver Ltd, United Kingdom
8 Fondazione TOGETHER TO GO