Swedish furniture giant Ikea is known for bringing cheap furnishings to the masses. However, many of its pieces exclude people with disabilities due to design choices like tiny switches and low couches.
But, thanks to a new project, called This Ables and a few 3D printing tweaks, this can be changed. Non-profit organizations Milbat and Access Israel partnered with Ikea to create solutions for those with special needs and disabilities.
The team is working on bridging some of the gaps between existing products and people with special needs. This Ables are 3D printable parts which can be added onto Ikea furniture to make it easier to use.
So far, there are 13 designs to choose from. Anyone with access to a 3D printer can easily download and print the designs from ThisAbles.
Though the instructions are all in Hebrew since Ikea Israel created these add-ons, if you’re able to translate them, the 3D printed parts can greatly improve the functionality of the products for those with special needs.
Examples of Ikea’s ThisAbles Developments
Each of the developments comes with an explanation of who it was designed for, how it can be used, and how to print and attach the add-on.
For example, they created a glass bumper for wheelchair users who may knock into the fragile, glass cupboards. Another design is a pop-up handle that one can open with a forearm rather than the palm of a hand. There is also a couch lift that raises the height of the Karlstad sofa so it’s easier to sit in and get up from.
Once you’ve switched from Hebrew to English via Google Translate, then downloaded and printed the parts, it’s time to install them. Ikea created YouTube videos showing how to do this, and they don’t require language skills. Or, you can check out the pictures also on the This Ables website.