ACM Transactions on Accessible Computing | VOL. 15

The Global Care Ecosystems of 3D Printed Assistive Devices

Publication Date Dec 31, 2022


The popularity of 3D printed assistive technology has led to the emergence of new ecosystems of care, where multiple stakeholders (makers, clinicians, and recipients with disabilities) work toward creating new upper limb prosthetic devices. However, despite the increasing growth, we currently know little about the differences between these care ecosystems. Medical regulations and the prevailing culture have greatly impacted how ecosystems are structured and stakeholders work together, including whether clinicians and makers collaborate. To better understand these care ecosystems, we interviewed a range of stakeholders from multiple countries, including Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, France, India, Mexico, and the U.S. Our broad analysis allowed us to uncover different working examples of how multiple stakeholders collaborate within these care ecosystems and the main challenges they face. Through our study, we were able to uncover that ecosystems with multi-stakeholder collaborations exist (something prior work had not seen), and these ecosystems showed increased success and impact. We also identified some of the key follow-up practices to reduce device abandonment. Of particular importance are to have ecosystems put in place follow-up practices that integrate formal agreements and compensations for participation (which do not need to be just monetary). We identified that these features helped to ensure multi-stakeholder involvement and ecosystem sustainability. We finished the article with socio-technical recommendations to crea...


Care Ecosystems Upper Limb Prosthetic Devices Multiple Stakeholders Working Examples Multiple Countries Ecosystem Sustainability Costa Rica Prior Work Global Ecosystems Key Practices

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