3D4D aims for rapid improvement in developing nations

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London based technology charity techfortrade has launched its global 3D4D Challenge, to help improve lives in developing countries.

The competition aims to unearth new groundbreaking ideas that exploit developments in 3D printing, mobile phone based scanning technology and web based design applications to improve the incomes and livelihoods of people in developing countries.

Techfortrade is funding a $100k prize to enable the winning entry to be implemented and it’s hoped that the challenge will generate enough interest for other entrants to also attract offers of support. The challenge is also being supported by 3D printer and rapid manufacturing machine companies MakerBot and Econolyst.
The challenge is open for anyone to enter and entries should focus on the reduction of poverty, aiding the development of local communities.

Potential ideas for entries could involve using 3D printed models and parts to improve agriculture practices, water supply or filtration processes, or energy supplies for rural or impoverished areas. An example suggested by techfortrade is creating parts on a 3D printer for broken waterpumps that can then be easily fixed by locals, rather than having to source parts and repairs from elsewhere. The technology could also be used generate income by manufacturing entirely new products from recycled plastic.

To encourage potential entrants to brainstorm ideas with industry experts techfortrade will hold a series of free workshops. The workshops will be held in four international locations:

  • New York, MakerBot Industries– 12 May 2012
  • London, Westminster Hub – 17 May 2012
  • Johannesburg, Hackerspace – 22 May 2012
  • Nairobi, Nairobi University FabLab– 25 May 2012

MakerBot is committed to increasing access to 3D printing technology and to supporting those who can benefit from it,” said MakerBot founder Bre Pettis. “Working with techfortrade on 3D4D is an exciting way to encourage innovation and create new ideas and applications for our technology to help improve the lives of people around the world.


According to chief executive of techfortrade, William Hoyle, “We have yet to tap the full potential of this exciting new technology which presents a great opportunity for poor communities to access the resources that they need to help overcome difficult conditions. We look forward to seeing what creative solutions the entrants come up with to help alleviate poverty in developing countries.

3D4D Challenge.org

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