We always like it when companies consider people with disabilities when making their products, so we're encouraged by Ikea's latest efforts.
Ikea is one of the most popular sources for affordable furniture across the world. It’s a great combination of being modern and stylish while not breaking the piggy bank. Unfortunately, its designs are not always accessible for those with disabilities. If you own Ikea couches and chairs, you may have noticed they are usually really low to the ground, and Ikea's drawers have impossible handles.
Even its light switches are comically small. While these are slight inconveniences to most people, it makes Ikea products practically unusable for people with disabilities. To finally address this issue, Ikea Israel is working with two non profits, Milbat and Access Israel, to create ThisAbles, a lineup of 3D-printed add-ons for Ikea furniture. At the moment, there are 13 different designs.
There’s couch raisers, in case you own a low-sitting couch, and handles, which will make drawers easier to open, and big switches for lights. All the designs are made to slip right over existing Ikea furniture. The only problem with them currently is that they require access to a 3D printer. You need to create the necessary pieces. But, if you do have a 3D printer, the designs can be easily downloaded and used.
While the designs have directions, this effort was created by Ikea Israel, so they are only available Hebrew. But, if you fire up Google Translate, you can easily get around that. In addition to the handy instructions, Ikea has created YouTube videos showing how to install all the modifications. So, this is your chance to make people’s lives a little easier while getting to mess with 3D printing.
And some of these designs go well beyond just helping those with disabilities. Just try turning on an Ikea lamp in a dark room yourself. Yes, Ikea furniture is ubiquitous because it’s budget-friendly, but it’s not accessible to everyone. Hopefully now that can change.