Using 3D printers for innovation problem solving in the Middle East refugee crisis

Posted by Sean Carmichael on Jan 19, 2016 3:02:42 PM

One of the great aspects of 3D printing is how it has democratized manufacturing. Anyone with access to a 3D printer, raw materials like polymers, and a little imagination, can make almost anything.

It was with that fact in mind that Dave Levin and Loay Malameh have set up a maker space called FabLab in Amman, Jordan, according to Popular Science. The facility comes equipped with a number of tools, including a dozen 3D printers, to assist locals and refugees displaced by the Syrian Civil War to solve problems and better their lives. The maker space is supported by the Jordanian government as well as a number of private benefactors ranging from a particle physicist at CERN to the King of Jordan.

One example of how the 3D printers at FabLab work is in the modification of parts found in Syria to make firefighting equipment. A liquid petroleum gas tank was modified to hold water and was attached to a garden hose. The last part was a nozzle that was 3D printed at FabLab.

The facility is also working of 3D printing prosthetic limbs for refugees who have been injured in the fighting. Another project involved 3D printing a replication of unexploded ordinance that could then be used to teach refugees how to recognize and disarm the real thing.

Refugee Open Ware (ROW), the group that created FabLab, would like to expand the concept for innovation problem solving to other unsettled parts of the world, including Europe, which is playing reluctant host to over a million Middle Eastern and North African refugees.

Topics: Innovation Insights, Challenges

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