The inspiration for the 3d4d Challenge came from an article published in the Economist in February 2011, entitled ‘Print me a Stradivarius’
It seemed that although industry watchers were talking about 3D printing became a mainstream and accessible technology, most of the discussion was focused on the impact of this technological disruption in developed economies. Given the fact that techfortrade’s goal is to increase the incomes of small producers working at the base of the pyramid, by improving market opportunities, using technology as an enabler, our interest focused on the potential for 3D printing technology to overcome some of the challenges faced in countries with poor infrastructure and a lack of a traditional manufacturing base.
So where were the bright ideas? We decided the best way to find out was to launch an international competition, with a sufficiently attractive prize to encourage those ideas to come forward, and that’s how the 3d4d Challenge was born!
- The Challenge launched on the 1st May 2012 .
- In May and early June 2012, techfortrade ran innovation workshops in the UK, USA, India, Kenya, South Africa and Romania to stimulate ideas.
- Over 60 projects were submitted from individuals and organisations in the Americas, Europe, Asia, and Africa.
- A shortlist of seven finalists was selected from initial entries. The finalists received a $1,000 research budget in order to further develop the concept in advance of the final selection event.
- The final was held in London on October 19th 2012, as part of the first 3d Print Show.
- The winning project came from the University of Washington in Seattle. Washington Open Object Fabricators (WOOF) won The 3D4D Challenge and a prize of $100,000 to help towards implementing the project.
- WOOF’s winning project will enable waste plastic to be used as filament for 3D printing machines, to create new products. The winning team, Bethany Weeks, Matthew Rogge and Brandon Bowman, plan to work with US based NGO, Water for Humans (WFH), to address local issues in water and sanitation in Oaxaca, Mexico.