MakerBot Thingiverse, one of the largest 3D design community, has declared the winning designs from the Assistive Technology Challenge. The challenge asked the Thingiverse community to create 3D printed devices for people with disabilities and make them available for others. There are more than 200 million people with disabilities around the world who experience considerable difficulties in handling everyday tasks, and many of them can’t find off-the-shelf products that address their needs1. 3D printing can help solve some of the problem by providing the ability to create custom solutions at an affordable price.
Following more than 170 submissions, Tobias Wirtl’s Mouth Operated Mouse. Wirtl’s mouth operated mouse was designed so people of all economic backgrounds would be able to build one on their own or find somebody to build it for them.
“There are many new technologies that people with disabilities can’t access and in my opinion everyone should be able to benefit from today’s media, especially the Internet,” said Tobias Wirtl, creator of the Mouth Operated Mouse. “That’s why I decided to create a device that would allow people to navigate the Web. Products like these sell for hundreds of dollars. I created this one with one 3D printer and about $20 worth of commonly available components.”
The mouth operated mouse moves the cursor by using a mouthpiece, which works like a joystick. Pushing the mouthpiece towards the case operates the right mouse button. The left mouse button is emulated by a sensor that recognizes when the user sucks air through it. The system is controlled by an Arduino Pro Micro and can be connected to virtually any PC via USB.