The Future Is Within Reach – Design Challenge Winners Announced!

Late one afternoon in the Fall of 2011, while the warm sun filtered in through the blinds in our family room…(which could do nothing to keep the chills from overtaking me), I stood over my husband as he sat kneeling on the carpet in front of a heavy cardboard box that held a future for us that we could never have imagined. We knew that as soon as we opened that box, our lives would never be the same.

He took out his pocket knife and slid it beneath the packaging tape as we locked eyes and shared an odd sort of “knowing nod” to one other and I felt myself jump as the seal of the tape broke with a snap. I heard him catch his breath and hold it in his lungs for a while, as he reached inside the mystery box and wrapped his hands around what was about to thrust us into a journey we honestly were not prepared for.


The tears started burning my cheeks, as I watched my husband there, sitting on the floor at my feet, holding a replica of a hand that was missing some of it’s fingers…mailed to him from a perfect stranger who lived over 10,000 miles away. A stranger with a need, that completely put his trust in someone who had just the right kind imagination to see things differently than most of the rest of the world and hoped he would be open to sharing his ideas with no reward but the simple knowing that he made a difference in the life of another human being who reached out to him for help.

Over the past 4 years, this box that Ivan and I opened that day, has led us to find thousands of other dreamers and imagineers out there in the world, who take great joy in using their imaginations and sharing their ideas for the sake of “giving someone a helping hand” and incredibly, they want nothing in return for their gifts and hard work they put into creating them. It has been somewhat overwhelming to watch this e-NABLE movement spread throughout the world and get to witness people from all different cultures and beliefs, working together for the greater good by collaborating together and sharing their ideas so freely…on a daily basis.

This spring, I watched a video of Brandy Leigh Scott, the original inspiration for this contest who has limited use of her hands due to Dupuytrens Contracture, using 3D printed tools that were created for her by her friends Mara and Dave at Matterhackers. I realized that the global e-NABLE Community has now been gifted with many more boxes to open and it was time to start cutting the packaging tape away and unwrapping the next “things” that will take us on new incredible journeys and now was the perfect time to explore these possibilities.

We as a global community of “Change Makers” and “Digital Humanitarians” have the ability to collaborate across thousands of miles to MAKE A DIFFERENCE. We have volunteers from tiny villages in war torn areas, to world renowned thriving Universities…from middle school classrooms filled with students who “don’t know what is impossible yet,” to Rotary clubs full of retired engineers, eager to get their “wheels turning” again. We have people from all walks of life, working together to solve real world problems…and giving the solutions away!

We have so much more we can do to “give the world a helping hand”… than just 3D printing hands and arms.

Back in June, I teamed up with what can only be described as a “dream team” with MatterHackersPinshape, and Ultimaker  to launch a worldwide design challenge called “Within Reach.” The goal was to expand on spirit of giving that the e-NABLE Community has already been pouring out into the world for those who were born missing fingers or who lost them due to accident, illness or war…and get them thinking of ways they could help the hundreds of thousands of people worldwide who are living without the full use of their hands, including stroke victims, military veterans, arthritis sufferers, children affected by severe epilepsy, and others with debilitating conditions.

The Within Reach Design Challenge started Monday, July 11th and ended September 6th. To encourage participation of both professional designers as well as summer camps, classrooms, and makerspaces, winners were announced in two categories: youth (under 18) and adults (18 and over.) Each category had 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winners with prizes sponsored by Ultimaker and MatterHackers. Pinshape hosted the challenge submissions.

A total of 203 designs were received from around the world.

“It was really exciting to see what everyone came up with, especially the under 18 category,” says Brandy Leigh Scott, “I’m already incorporating these devices into my daily routine. It’s amazing to think of the impact that these designs will have for people with hand disabilities, like the Dupuytrens Contracture community.”

In a Facebook message shared by Mara, Brandy goes on to say “…My gratitude for everything that has happened can never be put into words, but I’d like to take a quick second to try. Thanks to MatterHackers, Pinshape, Ultimaker & for sponsoring this amazing contest. I’m honored to be a part of this adventure with you all….You’ll never understand how much you changed my life with just a pair of tweezers.”

Today, I am excited to announce the winners of this design challenge and share a link to all of the designs that were submitted, as well as encourage everyone, especially teachers and students, to continue adding to this collection of useful tools, long after the winners receive their prizes!

Below, are the winning designs for the Youth Under 18 Category:

Grand Prize: Aiden and Nima with The Nail It Nail Guide

The Australian creators of “The Nail It”, Nima Yahyaabady (Year 7) and Aidan Mansell (Year 9), designed a simple and cost effective solution for Mr. Knight – their Engineering teacher who has an amputated thumb. Congratulations to our winner!

Receives: Ultimaker 2 + 3D Printer, MatterControl T10 3D Printer Controller, and Three Spools of MatterHackers PRO Series PLA


Second Place: Amy with the Zipper Aid and Easy Keychain Ring

From Canada, Amy W submitted FIVE designs – all with compelling video detailing her design and iteration processes. While her “Tip Blade” design was also a favorite, her Zipper Pull is a useful, attractive, and easy to print solution to a persistent, daily problem. It’s so simple, but so effective!

Receives: Crafty 3D Printing Pen and $100 MatterHackers Gift Card


Third Place: Johan with the Keyboard Assist Typing Tool

Johan, a 15-year old French-speaker from Switzerland, designed a simple attachment for people like Brandy (without use of their fingers) to make typing easier.

Receives: $50 MatterHackers Gift Card

Honorable Mentions:
The Hashi-Beta Chopsticks Tool
Refrigerator Assist Drawer Opener
Drawer Opening Assistive Device

To see the other amazing entries and designs from the Under 18 category – please visit the collection and feel free to download, print, use, gift and continue working on these designs and improving them!

Below, are the winning designs for the Over 18 Category:


First Place :fuzionist with the Spin Sling 360 Knob To Lever Kit

Fusionist created a simple and accessible doorknob adaptor, designed to be assembled with no additional parts – even the assembly tool is 3D printed! The video takes us through his design process, and is a fantastic example of how 3D printing can be used to take an idea from concept to useable part. Congratulations to our winner!

Grand Prize: Ultimaker 2 + 3D Printer, MatterControl T10 3D Printer Controller, and Three Spools of MatterHackers PRO Series PLA


Second Place: Gontran with the Handy Container Opening Tool

This tool is so helpful to those with limited use of their hands – in two ways! Gontran designed a device to open snap-on lids, which require finger dexterity. The pointed tip design also allows for easy opening of inner plastic seals without struggling with small tabs and seams.

Receives: Crafty 3D Printing Pen and $100 MatterHackers Gift Card

Third Place: Björn Kok with the Household Help

Bjorn Kok from the Netherlands designed a 3D-printable adaptor for broom handles that includes wrist and elbow supports, along with a moveable handle. Use case is limited only by your imagination. Brandy wanted to try Stand-Up Paddling, and now sees this as possible, thanks to Bjorn’s design!

Receives: $50 MatterHackers Gift Card.

Honorable Mentions – Adult over 18 category:

FLOW – The universal tap adapter
Universal Food Tray
Key Lock Twister

To see the other amazing entries and designs from the Under 18 category – please visit the collection and feel free to download, print, use, gift and continue working on these designs and improving them!


Thank you so very much for everyone that participated in this design challenge! You are already making a difference in the lives of those you designed for, as you can see in the video below as Brandy tries out some of the tools that were created for her and the thousands of others who struggle with daily tasks due to limited mobility and use of their fingers and hands.

Thank you, for helping us to make a difference in the lives of others!

I ask that you continue to think of ways in which you can use your ideas, imaginations, resources and technology – to be a real life change-maker!

If you decide to participate in this new adventure and want to donate a design for a tool that could help people in need of assistance, please upload your designs to Pinshape and use the #withinreach3DP tag to make sure that it will be found by those who are seeking devices to aid them in their everyday lives!

We ARE Enabling The Future.

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