A prototype is a preliminary model of something. Projects that offer physical products need to show backers documentation of a working prototype. This gallery features photos, videos, and other visual documentation that will give backers a sense of what’s been accomplished so far and what’s left to do. Though the development process can vary for each project, these are the stages we typically see:
Proof of Concept
Explorations that test ideas and functionality.
Demonstrates the functionality of the final product, but looks different.
Looks like the final product, but is not functional.
Appearance and function match the final product, but is made with different manufacturing methods.
Appearance, function, and manufacturing methods match the final product.
About this project
The World Bank came up with this great idea to fund some fantastic organizations to work together to create a pilot to see if it was possible to use e-waste printers and design a machine to create recycled plastic filament that would then be available to youth to make products.
They called this pilot... ReFab Dar. Techfortrade and STICLab worked on and have nearly perfected the Retr3D 3D printers. Both Techfortrade and Reflow are working with the Thunderhead extruder to make recycled filament a reality for communities around the world. The project through its 18 months in funding span was tremendous we trained over a hundred youth and created more than 50 prototypes. As all good things tend to do it at some point, the project funding came to an end and it was time to test this baby out.
So then Voices of Africa Foundation started to get involved. The organization bought a Retr3D 3D printer and some filament and started printing medical prototypes. These medical prototypes have been focused on the 6 core priority areas of healthcare in Africa: malaria, preterm babies, suffocation at birth, HIV/AIDS, and infections.
Voices of Africa wrote a proposal with the Tanzania Jhpiego country office to an internal grant award and won $30,000 at in October which was perfect timing as ReFab's last funding closed in September. This allows us to try some new things together, however it isn't quite enough to buy the tools we need to really make it work mechanically.
So what is this wonderful New Frontiers Grant doing for us? It gave us the funding to be able to plan and create 5 more Retr3D 3D printers for a new mini factory to create health products. We are in the process of making a rural midwife tools kit to be printed locally at hospitals and medical centers to supply as per demand.
We are having a Hackathon for Health to crowdsource designs for additional birthing kit tools and specifically neonatal aspirators. We are also working on HIV prevention by crowdsourcing designs for circumcision tools for infants and adults. To tackle infections and malaria, we are working the Cambridge University to test their Waterscope microscope in a clinical setting for malaria diagnosis on top of its original design for testing water for bacteria and parasites. All of this will be real life field tested by doctors in hospitals this year.
However as much as we are thankful for this grant, it just isnt enough to cover the expenses of doing what we should with this project. We need to have the printers in a safe space that the public can access and where we can teach more Tanzanians about 3D printing. It should be a place to go to find a laser cutter for an interesting project and learn to use new machines.We need more space to build more machines and help other entrepreneurs to create enterprises using the locally made machines and filament.
We also want for their to be more than just 3D printers going on in this Medical Tech Makers space. We also want to promote the growth of drones and robots. How can we use these amazing technologies to really saves lives? These are the questions we should be asking ourselves.
So what are we asking you to fund... We are asking you to help us fund and create a FabLab style Makerspace to house some simple tools we can use to create better printers, medical devices. It will even be possible for us to make drone, robotics, and event more!!!
This first $15,000 is the BEGINNING investment in Tanzania becoming an innovative countries that makes its own electronics products and can user in a new day of becoming a semi-industrialized nation by 2030! We need your help to make this small step, that will mean something very big in the near future. The impact these technologies can make on lives here is unfathomable.
We need to buy about $10,000 in tools and electronics components to make it work where we can get to the point of designing new products. The other $5,000 is for the rent, security guard who will have to be located at the space (this is Tanzania), Hackathon, website, and social media campaign.
Risks and challenges
There are many risks in challenges in a project like this and given its nature and location it has been difficult to get it to the place where it is currently. However this is an important piece of a much larger puzzle testing and teaching technology in ways that hasn't been done before. It is a blue ocean field here. Only a matter to jump in and swim.
What we can guarantee is that we will build the space, we will train at least 100 more youth in computer and 3D printing skills within a year. That will will have at least 3 products in cooperation and collaboration with others ready for market in the 3D printing medical field within a year. This is a work in progress. These are the minimum targets with much high expected when we have the engineering capacity to do more.
A meet and greet with Crystal Kigoni, Voices of Africa founder and ReFab coordinator, in California to hear about 3D printing in the medical field in Africa and opportunities there. And also get half off tickets to 3DHeals for the whole conference! https://events.bizzabo.com/3DHEALS2017/