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IKEA makes furniture more accessible with 3D printing

ThisAbles could help more people navigate their home.
Jon Fingas, @jonfingas
March 17, 2019
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If you live with disabilities, shopping for furniture can be difficult. Many common furniture items aren't designed with accessibility in mind, and those that are can be rare or non-existent. IKEA Israel has a technological solution: 3D print pieces that make them easier to use. The store has collaborated with Milbat on ThisAbles, a project that provides 3D-printed add-ons for furniture that can be tough to use with certain conditions. Among the 13 initial items are easier-to-grab handles, bumpers to protect cabinets and lifts to raise couches.

You'll have to visit an Israeli IKEA store to see the items in person, and you can only buy ready-made items through Milbat. However, you don't even have to buy anything if you have a 3D printer and some filament -- the designs are available to make for free. You can even ask for customizations in case the designs don't fit your third-party furniture. This is less about profit and more about encouraging furniture makers to consider accessibility as an important feature, whether it's built into a given design or available as an extra.

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