CAREABLES | Open and Inclusive Healthcare for Citizens Based on Digital Fabrication

Uploaded by RRI Tools on 14 February 2020



From 01/01/2018 to 31/12/2020

Careables is an open and inclusive approach to healthcare for citizens based on digital fabrication, distributed manufacturing and collaborative making.


Healthcare demands and solutions are changing rapidly. We see an urge for patients and care professionals to design more customized and tailor-made solutions. In parallel, the maker movement is designing ‘open hardware’, as product design is being democratized, opened up and accessible for a growing community. These two forces brought together a heterogeneous team that wants to support an open and inclusive approach to healthcare, based on digital fabrication, distributed manufacturing and collaborative making. We want to support citizens who feel like taking action themselves to satisfy their healthcare needs instead of relying on public healthcare services.


Within careables we aim to link local communities of citizens with disabilities, their families, and healthcare professionals with makers/designers to establish collaboration between these separate communities to develop open-source interventions and solutions, so called “Careables”.

Our current working definition defines a careable as an open solution that aims to improve the quality of life for people with unmet needs or facing physical limitations. Careables are co-designed, replicable, accessible, adjustable, and shareable online, using digital technologies. Careables is a new category that promises readily customized solutions and a horizontal and collaborative approach to health and care.

Careables are driven by a methodological commitment towards co-design of ‘open’ healthcare solutions, involving all relevant stakeholders. Key to co-design is that people become creators, not only users of innovation. In our case, patients, their families, healthcare professionals and designers are involved in the co-design process as experts in their specific environments, together with makers, who are experts in the use of digital tools, such as 3D printers, laser cutters, etc. At a global scale we offer the careables platform for sharing open healthcare solutions, including detailed documentation to facilitate the replication and adaptation of careables.

The project has no illusions of replacing or changing the complex reality of healthcare systems. But often patients use care solutions that do not fit their needs in terms of use, cost or aesthetics. The innovative power of users and care professionals combined with Fab Labs and open hardware is not being used to its full potential yet and we want to change that.








  • The Careables Platform for DIY healthcare, an open repository for well documented open hardware projects that offers communities a place to connect and exchange knowledge, needs and co-create solutions

  • The Careables Training Kit - provides a set of guidelines and templates to organise participatory co-design process in open source healthcare solutions.
  • Zentrum für Social Innovation, Austria
  • TogetherToGo ONLUS Foundation, Italy
  • KU Leuven Centre for IT & IP Law, The Netherlands
  • Wevolver
  • Agile Heap e.V., Germany
  • Global Innovation Gathering
  • Waag Society, Institute for Art, Science & Technology
  • OpenDot, Italy

Overall budget: € 2 191 896,62

EU contribution: € 1 999 826

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