DDP. Distributed Design Platform - NEXT STEPS
The Distributed Design Platform is an international platform created to be an exchange and networking centre for the emerging field of Distributed Design. The aim of the initiative is to develop and promote the connection between designers, makers and emerging digital and local markets.
From 2018, the Polifactory research group, a research lab at the Politecnico di Milano that explores the relationship between design and analogue/digital manufacturing to promote a new culture of making, joins the DDP network to share its projects and talents.
YEAR 2 | NEXT STEPS
The second year of research focused on the experimental initiative NEXT STEPS, which encourages collaboration between designers, makers and patients to co-design and prototype walking aids, making them open source products.
The distribution of these products was intended to take place via digital platforms, while their materialisation was linked to Fab Lab, i.e. digital fabrication labs created to provide access to the environment, skills, materials and advanced technology to enable anyone, anywhere, to design.
In collaboration with Associazione Italiana Glicogenosi AIG*, a rare and degenerative metabolic disease that progressively forces people into a state of infirmity, the NEXT STEPS project has concretely demonstrated the possibility of co-designing, producing and distributing new open source crutch models with real market potential.
The design, articulated according to a phase of co-design of the solutions, subsequent development and prototyping of the open source aids with technical-medical support and, finally, promotion on the DDP, was carried out taking into account some fundamental aspects such as the importance of the aesthetic dimension and the personalisation of the tools, as physical extensions of people, the adaptability to products already existing on the market and the adaptability of the production processes and digital technologies employed.
The four walking aids resulting from NEXT STEPS research:
Twistr, a parametric cane with a 3D-printed carbonium structure;
Taylor, a generative cane created to vary according to the weight, height and gender of the user;
Wander3d, a walker transformed into an IoT tool, motorised, sensorised and adjustable according to the user's needs;
Clip Clap, a customisable crutch with removable clips made from additive manufacturing.