Using our MakerBot 3D Printer to Create a Mountain of Pelican Prototypes

If a picture is worth a 1000 words, then a prototype is worth 1000 pictures. In order to get great feedback, it’s incredibly helpful to have prototypes. Comparisons are also beneficial, so we make many prototypes early in the design process.

During the spring, a fabulous team from the MIT and Rhode Island School of Design Product Design and Development Class created our best Pelican prototype yet. Over the last week, Design that Matters Designer Will Harris whipped up a series of additional prototypes using our 3D printer. Amber Gaumnitz of Partners in Health visited our offices Friday to describe pain points around procuring pulse oximeters for Haiti and Rwanda. Upon seeing the Makerbot 3D printer fabricating the new prototypes, Amber exclaimed, “It’s like magic!!”

 DtM's Makerbot 3D Printer and the pile of prototoypes we've created with it so far.

DtM's Makerbot 3D Printer and the pile of prototoypes we've created with it so far.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth created DtM's first live interaction app allowing users to interact with a button and display for our shoe prototype. Click on the image to interact with our prototype!

   Click on the image to interact with our prototype!

Click on the image to interact with our prototype!

These prototypes fired the imaginations of dozens of healthcare providers at the Brigham and Women’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Using the prototypes, we received vital feedback about basic ergonomics, and display preferences. Prototypes are even more vital when we perform research in locations with a different culture and language. They take abstract ideas about what could be, and quickly make them tangible to enable us to move beyond words and see how people actually would or wouldn’t use them.

Click here to learn more about DtM's work with Brigham and Women's Hospital.