Sharing is caring: Assistive technology designs on thingiverse

Erin Buehler, Stacy Branham, Abdullah Ali, Jeremy J. Chang, Megan Kelly Hofmann, Amy Hurst, Shaun K. Kane

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


An increasing number of online communities support the open-source sharing of designs that can be built using rapid prototyping to construct physical objects. In this paper, we examine the designs and motivations for assistive technology found on, the largest of these communities at the time of this writing. We present results from a survey of all assistive technology that has been posted to Thingiverse since 2008 and a questionnaire distributed to the designers exploring their relationship with assistive technology and the motivation for creating these designs. The majority of these designs are intended to be manufactured on a 3D printer and include assistive devices and modifications for individuals with disabilities, older adults, and medication management. Many of these designs are created by the end-users themselves or on behalf of friends and loved ones. These designers frequently have no formal training or expertise in the creation of assistive technology. This paper discusses trends within this community as well as future opportunities and challenges.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationCHI 2015 - Proceedings of the 33rd Annual CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Subtitle of host publicationCrossings
PublisherAssociation for Computing Machinery
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9781450331456
StatePublished - Apr 18 2015
Event33rd Annual CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2015 - Seoul, Korea, Republic of
Duration: Apr 18 2015Apr 23 2015

Publication series

NameConference on Human Factors in Computing Systems - Proceedings


Other33rd Annual CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, CHI 2015
Country/TerritoryKorea, Republic of


  • 3D printing
  • Assistive technology
  • Design
  • Disability
  • Open-source
  • Personal-scale fabrication
  • Prototyping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Software
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design


Dive into the research topics of 'Sharing is caring: Assistive technology designs on thingiverse'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this