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3D printed hockey puck for the visually impaired

Shared by Ana Duarte on 2015-12-21 10:24

About the solution

Montreal’s visually impaired hockey team “Les Hiboux de Montreal” (translated as the Owls of Montreal), have been finding ways to accommodate the sport to their needs, playing with a can filled with marbles for instance, but they still hope to one day play hockey with a proper hockey puck.

Ouellet says, “We discussed with the vice-rector at the university about our project and how we wanted to develop a real electronic puck that would make sound whether it’s in the air or immobile.”

Through the vice-rector, Ouellet was put in touch with Steve Vézeau, a professor of design at UQAM, and the two set to work in developing a hockey puck that could be used by the visually impaired, but still retained the shape and weight of a regulatory puck.

In order to build the puck, Vézeau has opted to make its parts through 3D modelling and 3D printing, using polyurethane as the material.

Because of the puck's audio component, Vézeau’s biggest challenge has been designing a puck shaped casing to hold the fragile audio electronics and to simultaneously withstand being hit by hockey sticks. As he explains of the task, “Our role consists of finding a container, if you will, to contain the electronic equipment and at the same time find a way…to manufacture it so it can keep the equipment secure and, at the same time, be esthetic, solid and light.”

Not only that, however, the developers of the puck have to consider other factors that come along with ice hockey, namely the cold, water and humidity.

Though the puck for the visually impaired is still in development, those involved are hopeful the final prototype will be ready soon. In order to help the process along, Les Hiboux de Montréal have launched a crowdfunding campaign on makeachamp.com. So far, Ouellet says between $8,000 and $10,000 have been spent on the puck’s development.

Ouellet hopes that this season will be the last one Les Hiboux and other visually impaired hockey teams will have to play with a tin can and marbles. “The goal is not to make a profit with this. It’s really to expand the sport, develop it and hopefully bring it to the Paralympics for 2022,” said Ouellet.

Adapted from: http://bit.ly/2f101zl

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This solution shall not include mention to the use of drugs, chemicals or biologicals (including food); invasive devices; offensive, commercial or inherently dangerous content. This solution was not medically validated. Proceed with caution! If you have any doubts, please consult with a health professional.

About the author

Gilles Ouellet, president of the team and also an employee at the Université de Québec à Montréal (UQAM), approached the university in 2014 to help the Montreal’s visually impaired hockey team. They built a 3D printed puck that makes sounds.

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