The Occupational Therapy Department at Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) is examining 3D printing through a new transformative curriculum project.

Diego Herrera, a graduate student in the occupational therapy program, is researching this summer with Assistant Professor Elizabeth Fain, using an Ultimaker 3D printer that was purchased recently through a grant from Islamic Relief USA.

“There are huge implications for the use of 3D printing technology in occupational therapy practice,” Fain said. “This emerging technology can produce equipment, tools and prosthetics that are customizable and at a much lower cost. Therefore, exposing the next generation of OT practitioners to its potential application is crucial and is an emerging technology that is not being offered at many OT programs.”

So far, Herrera and Fain have produced tools, such as pill bottle openers, eating utensils and button hooks. The equipment, which cost only about 25 cents each to print, will be offered for free to patients the program’s Occupational Therapy Clinic, based at the Community Care Center of Forsyth County, the largest and most comprehensive free clinic in North Carolina.

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Originally published July 3, 2018.