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Facilitating co-design of open healthcare for people with physical limitations

The mission of Careables is to enable citizens to co-design and deliver personalised, people-centered health solutions using digital fabrication, and to establish the central hub for citizens worldwide to find open healthcare solutions.

Bottom-up digital social innovations are on the rise, including in healthcare. Innovators, users and communities in healthcare are starting to collaborate by using digital technologies to co-create knowledge and solutions for a wide range of needs.

Citizens experience access healthcare services and products differently. The physical or mental limitations they are challenged with influence their needs and methods, and the social context in which citizens live reflects the demand of services.
These barriers of accessibility can be categorised as follows:

  • Healthcare products are too expensive;
  • Healthcare products lack functionality;
  • Healthcare products do not exist;
  • Healthcare products are not accessible;
  • Healthcare products are not aesthetically appealing, durable or able to be tailored.

Careables provides citizens with the possibility to co-produce custom-made healthcare solutions that improve their quality of life. The Careables platform supports the connection made between users, healthcare professionals and makers to start the co-production of healthcare solutions.

The project aims to:

  • Build an ecosystem, linking existing local communities of citizens with disabilities and their families, healthcare professionals and makers; establish collaboration between these separate communities to develop their own open-source and open-license interventions.
  • Provide access to open-source and digital fabrication tools which enable citizens with disabilities and healthcare professionals, along with designers and makers (DIY communities and maker spaces), to create customised self-made solutions to improve quality of life and the quality of services provided.
  • Improve the accessibility of open-source products that are tailored to people with special needs or disabilities as well as healthcare professionals and bypassing the limitations of classical industrial production.
  • Foster the ecosystem through open exchange of knowledge, case studies and manuals. Within the DIY approach, local production and global knowledge sharing is key.
  • Build guidelines that allow anyone to replicate formats everywhere, considering the socio-technical aspects as well as relevant legal and regulatory frameworks, quality standards, IPR implications, security, safety and privacy issues.

Careables is funded by the European Union’s CAPS programme within Horizon 2020.


Twitter: @CareablesOrg

Case study date: June 2018



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