Consumer ProductsMass Customization

OpenDot presents new Glifo custom-made writing aid for disabled children

3D printed for each user via iMaterialise

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Italian design studio OpenDot and TOG, supported by the platform and network, developed a new design for Glifo – a 3D printed custom aid that helps children with disabilities achieve autonomy in writing an drawing – and its new online configurator

The idea behind Glifo is to help children with a complex neurological disorder write and draw so that they could “leave their marks”. A need highlighted up by therapists, as they witnessed how important it was for children to engage in these activities, like their schoolmates, and even more if they could do it autonomously.

TOG therapists needed an aid that would support children as well as stimulate them, a tool that would enhance their capabilities despite the complexity of their pathologies. This aid had to reduce the contraction of the hand, but it also be easy to use, nice to look at, suited for both at school and at home, and, most importantly, tailor-made to fit each user.


Back in 2014, the first Glifo was developed as the result of an intense collaborative process by OpenDot ’s makers, therapists, designers and students, together with the families of children suffering from these impairments

The outcome was a functional, low-cost, accessible, aesthetically pleasing and therefore inclusive solution that, through to 3D printing, could be tailor-made for each child. The prototype went through an exhaustive series of reviews and feedback gathered from the therapists, patients and families who had been using it.

OpenDot is now launching Glifo’s latest design: lighter, smaller, easier to use and capable of holding more types and sizes of pens, pencils and markers to let kids choose how they channel their creativity.

The product is available for pre-order through a Kickstarter campaign. The help received will be used to create the configurator, and will also allow OpenDot and TOG to donate Glifo to those who cannot afford it (the “Glifo Sospeso”, inspired by the Neapolitan “suspended coffee”, offered for those who cannot afford it), to organizations, schools, associations and hospitals that work with children who may need it.

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Davide Sher

Since 2002, Davide has built up extensive experience as a technology journalist, market analyst and consultant for the additive manufacturing industry. Born in Milan, Italy, he spent 12 years in the United States, where he completed his studies at SUNY USB. As a journalist covering the tech and videogame industry for over 10 years, he began covering the AM industry in 2013, first as an international journalist and subsequently as a market analyst, focusing on the additive manufacturing industry and relative vertical markets. In 2016 he co-founded London-based 3dpbm. Today the company publishes the leading news and insights websites 3D Printing Media Network and Replicatore, as well as 3D Printing Business Directory, the largest global directory of companies in the additive manufacturing industry.

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