Envision the Future Design Challenge

Ends May 08, 2017

This contest has ended

Thanks to all the participants - we love you!

Envision the Future Design Challenge (18 and Over)

We’re challenging you to create a tactile tool to help a visually impaired person in everyday life or in the classroom. This could be something to help them complete simple everyday tasks or it could be an educational model that helps them understand a concept or lesson. For design inspiration, we recommend you spend a few hours blindfolded and ask a friend to guide you around. You could also visit or volunteer with a local organization in your area that works with the blind. Additional resources on braille standards are availible on this page. If you are under 18, please go to our youth contest page for details. Participate in the inspiring online conversation and build momentum for your design by posting photos and video with hashtag #EnvisionTheFuture and by tagging @Pinshape @MatterHackers @EnableTheFuture or @lulzbot3d on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.

  • Logo lulzbot
  • Logo matterhackers
  • Logo enable

How To Enter

  1. Design a tactile tool or educational model that would be of use to someone with impaired sight

  2. Once you’ve created your masterpiece, upload it to Pinshape and make sure to check a box on the upload form that says:

    Submit this model to the Envision The Future Design Challenge (18 and Over)

    Upload My Design Now

Rules & Eligibility

  1. Contest closes on May 8, 2017
  2. To encourage open collaboration, all valid entries will have a cc-attribution or cc attribution-sharealike license at the time of entry.
  3. Designs must be original works and not remixes of someone else's design.
  4. Entries cannot have been previously submitted to a Pinshape contest.
  5. Entries must comply with Pinshape’s content policy.
  6. Entrants must be registered with Pinshape to enter.
  7. There is no fee to enter the challenge.
  8. Entrants can submit as many unique entries as they would like.
  9. Contest open worldwide.

Judging Criterion

  • 40 points

    Creativity: Overall design quality, uniqueness, intricacy and detail

  • 30 points

    Technical excellence and ease of printing

  • 10 points

    Presentation and documentation: Include photos of your early iterations to show the evolution of the design. A link to video of the design in action and of the different prototypes is suggested but not required. If you can't 3D print the design, please include pictures of your cardboard or paper prototypes.

  • 20 points

    Design Functionality and Application: How helpful is this design for someone with limited sight? Is it accurate? Is this design solving a real problem for them?

Please note - having your model 3D printed does help illustrate ease of printing and image quality.
If you are a 3D designer who don’t have access to a 3D printer, please use this thread in our forums to reach out to a maker in the community who can print your design for you!


Jen and Ivan Owen


Ivan Owen is the co-designer of the first 3D printed hand that was created for a young boy in South Africa in 2013. After his hand designed was released as an open source file, he focused on improving the design with the e-NABLE community. His wife, Jen Owen created the enablingthefuture.org website and blog. She shares stories from the global e-NABLE Community on the blog, and works with makers and recipients who are interested in getting a 3D printed e-NABLE device

Steve Berg

Braille Institute

As the Access Technology Specialist for Braille Institute in Rancho Mirage, Steven Berg loves to learn new technology and share it with his clients to live a more independent and happy lifestyle. Steve has been with Braille Institute for 25 years, previously as a Tactile Graphics Artist and Information Technology Coordinator at the Los Angeles center. He teaches screen reading and magnification software, as well as handheld device use for the low vision and the blind.

Dave Gaylord

MatterHackers/Mechanical Engineer

Dave Gaylord, Director of Marketing at MatterHackers, Inc., is a Design Engineer with 10+ years of professional experience in 3D Printing. Dave has a background in design and is familiar with many manufacturing techniques. He became interested in 3D printing because of it’s ability to make rapid design iterations and prototypes. His experience comes from professional positions as a Product Development Engineer designing consumer devices and an R&D Engineer for implantable medical devices and surgical tools.

Rob Schulenburg

Junior Blind, Director of Transition Services

As Director of Transition Services at Junior Blind, Rob Schulenburg has been instrumental in streamlining and strengthening the organization’s transition programs for youth who are blind or visually impaired. Rob is a credentialed Teacher of the Visually Impaired and holds additional teaching credentials in Cross-Categorical High Incident Disabilities and Secondary English. He holds graduate and post graduate degrees in special education and educational leadership and taught for nine years at the Arizona Schools for the Deaf and Blind.

Frequently Asked Questions

What kind of files can I submit for the challenge?

We accept .STL, .MCX, .AMF, .3MF, .DXF, .IGES, .DWG, .STEP, .ACIS, .OBJ, .FORM, .PDF, .DOCX, .TXT and .ZIP files. You can submit up to a max of 150 files and 25 photos (this is photos of the design not files for the design). 100MB is the maximum total file size.

What happens to my design if I win?

You will keep ownership of the design and it will remain available to everyone in the Pinshape community to enjoy!

Can I submit designs I’ve made available on other sites or for other contests?

Yes you can. If it isn’t on Pinshape yet and it is something you’ve designed, it’s fair game!

Do I still own my designs when I post them?

Of course! We will never take over control of your work, we’re on your side.

When/how will the winners be announced?

The winner will be announced in the week following the end of the contest, in a post on the Pinshape blog. If you’re a winner, you’ll be contacted directly by the Pinshape team.

Have Questions or Comments? Talk To Us!

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