Colored, 3D Printed VaxBeads Win ‘Printers for Peace’ Contest
(3Ders.org) A brightly colored bead strand that will help families and doctors keep track of childhood vaccine records in the developing world has won the 3D Printers for Peace Contest. The contest was organized last spring by Professor Joshua Pearce at Michigan Technological University. “We wanted to celebrate designs that will make lives better, not snuff them out,” said Pearce.
The first-place entry, VaxBeads, was submitted by John Van Tuyl of Hamilton, Ontario, a master’s student in mechanical engineering at McMaster University. The plastic blocks act as an immunization record. Each color and shape represents a vaccine, and the blocks can be printed with a child’s initials, date of birth and an identifying number. Van Tuyl receives the top prize, an Open-source Series 1 3-D Printer donated by Type A Machines.
“We have the capacity to immunize against many diseases, but it’s not getting accomplished,” Van Tuyl said. Putting easily interpreted medical records into the hands of the people could help, he thought. So he developed VaxBeads, which can be strung into a necklace to represent a person’s immunization record. “They are more permanent than paper, and I thought families would be more likely to save the beads than standard vaccination cards.”