The 3D4D Challenge Finals, organized by the techfortrade charity, were held on Friday at the 3D Printshow London 2012. The seven finalists came from all over the World and at the event they were pitching for the opportunity to win $100,000 to develop their idea. It was truly an exciting and high-profile competition for the finalists themselves as well as for 3D printing — and all seven definitely deserved their place in the final.
Of the seven finalists one project stood out for the judges — WOOF — which was declared the winner of the competition. The proposition of the WOOF project is to take waste plastic and turn it into filament for 3D printing machines to create new products. The winning team consisted of three members: Matthew Rogge, Bethany Weeks and Brandon Bowman, who plan to work with US based NGO, Water for Humans (WFH), to address local issues in water and sanitation in Oaxaca, Mexico.
Matt Rogge delivered a very convincing winning presentation, despite the fact that it was not the only recycling focused project in the final. However it brought together a range of issues and offered a solution: solving waste problem, providing new recycled products, creating more employment, involved a partner to handle local delivery and it is also a scalable project that can be introduced into the developed World as well.
The panel of 3D4D judges asked Matt about 3D printing costs vs. traditional manufacturing costs for this project, to which he responded by referring to recycled material cost being much cheaper and the whole process being automated. The second question concerned WOOF’s capacity to take the project Worldwide. The first stage is planned for training people to use the system, which would then allow them to become entrepreneurs and to train others — this obviously went down very well.
Bethany Weeks from WOOF commented on the win: “We are delighted to have won the 3D4D Challenge. Our idea is about improving the lives of people in developing nations for the long term, by providing access to vital facilities that others may take for granted, using sustainable processes. The money that we’ve received will help make this dream a reality.”
The runner up to WOOF was the Fripp Design and Research project that uses 3D printing technology to provide soft tissue prostheses solutions for medical purposes; and third place went to JF Brandon’s EN3D solar tracker device.
The judges’ decision was based on the level of innovation demonstrated by each project and the proposed use of 3D printing technology to improve the incomes and livelihoods of people in developing countries.
The final event was hosted by techtrade CEO William Hoyle and judges consisted of Mariéme Jamme, Rupert Goodwins, editor of ZDNet; technology entrepreneur, journalist and African campaigner, Pekka Salokannel technical artist from Tinkercad, Simon Trace chief executive of technology charity, Practical Action, and Steve Haines mobilisation director for global campaigns at Save the Children International, who all showed great interest in the projects and the contestants by asking tricky questions related to the project execution.
Congratulations to the team behind WOOF – at 3DPI we look forward to seeing the results of this in the coming months.
The winner and both second and third placed finalists received a 3D printed trophy, designed and printed by 3D4D sponsor, Econolyst. The WOOF team was also presented with a 3D printer from MakerBot, who also sponsored the competition.