Winner of Gigabot 3D Printer to Assist Adults with Special Needs in Vocational Training

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As part of their commitment to social impact, Texas-based 3D printer manufacturer re:3D pledged to give a Gigabot 4 industrial 3D printer to a change-making organization for every 100 printers they sell through their annual Gigaprize competition. This year’s winner is the vocational community Brookwood in Georgetown, also located in Texas. They plan to use the printer for many impactful projects, from crafting ceramic molds to offering vocational training for adults with functional disabilities.

This year’s Gigaprize contest, overseen by Ryan Murray, an Emory University MBA grad and re:3D intern, opened its application window for just one month. Still, the turnout was enormous. From June 1 to June 30, participants had to submit a three-minute video pitching how they would use the Gigabot 4 to achieve their community-building goals. With the June 30 midnight deadline approaching, the application window for the annual Gigaprize competition was closing.

Judging took place over two intense weeks in July, carried out by a panel of experts that included Khaalid McMillan, Chair of the Additive Manufacturing Council at IBM; Sabine Berendse, Founder of Green Phenix; NASA Program Executive Jason Kessler and Professor and Open Lab Founder Andrea Santos, among others. They scored applications based on a trio of criteria: originality and impact, feasibility and drive, and dedication. By the end of it, less than a single point separated the final five contestants, highlighting the outstanding level of this year’s entries.

Finally, the winner emerged: Brookwood in Georgetown. Their mission to use 3D printing for the betterment of adults with functional disabilities struck a chord.

“We had some amazing entries to this year’s Gigaprize, and we’re happy to announce the 2023 Winner as Brookwood in Georgetown! Our judges loved their unique use case for the Gigabot 4 printer and we cannot wait to see what amazing things their citizens make with help from their Gigabot! In addition to winning the Gigabot 4, our partner organization, America Makes, will provide Brookwood in Georgetown with Workforce Development training and onboarding into the America Makes nation [AMNation]. We love this, as this ensures BiG gets the most out of their printer and can continue to make an amazing impact!” Ryan Murray told 3DPrint.com.

Brookwood’s plans are as heartwarming as they are innovative. According to Debbie Guinn, Assistant Director of Mission Advancement at Brookwood: “BiG has a vision of an inclusive, empowering world for adults with special needs. This marks a paradigm shift in the way that society typically views these individuals. We provide training and support for our Citizens to succeed in modified job tasks, allowing them to experience the dignity and satisfaction of accomplishing real work. Winning the Gigabot will allow us to dream and create in new and innovative ways for our Citizens to succeed. From making molds for our clay enterprise to creating adaptive tools for our Citizens to participate in our pie-making kitchen – the sky is the limit! We are beyond grateful!”

According to re:3D, every participant, including the four runner-ups I Want That Leg, Re-Inventa, Sew-Printed, and Centro de Aprendizaje Educarte, brought incredible ideas to the table. It was a close race, so Murray encouraged them to apply for the next Gigaprize: “I hope that the runner-up will continue to follow re:3D and apply for our next Gigaprize!”

re:3D’s Gigabot 4 printer. Image courtesy of re:3D.

In today’s world, where social impact often takes a back seat to profit, re:3D’s Gigaprize initiative offers a refreshing change. The contest helps boost the voices of grassroots innovators and rewards them with the tools they need to make a difference. And with winners like Brookwood, who aim to reshape society’s view on adults with special needs, the future of the Gigaprize looks brighter than ever—a huge congrats to this year’s Gigaprize winner, Brookwood in Georgetown. We’re excited to see the things you’ll do and can’t wait for the next Gigaprize contest. In a world needing positive change, generosity and innovation go a long way.

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