Dr. Gokul Krishnan
Founder, Maker Therapy – USA
Dr. Gokul Krishnan is the founder of Maker Therapy, a US-based organization that designs patient-centric makerspaces in pediatric settings such as hospitals to support technologically rich learning experiences for hospitalized and chronically ill children.
“There is often a lot of despair that accompanies the diagnosis of a life-threatening illness or hospitalization. Especially for children in this situation, it’s important to offer outlets that encourage growth, playfulness, and a sense of achievement,” Dr. Krishnan says. “Maker Therapy supports young patients by focusing not only on the present but also on the future — providing opportunities for these young children and teens to explore and express who they are, who they dream of becoming, and the impact they can make right now. Maker Therapy begins from a premise of hope.”
In these Maker Therapy’s makerspaces, 3D printers are one of the important technologies that young patients use. Additive manufacturing technology empowers, inspires, motivates, and uplifts young patients by allowing them to design and create personally meaningful objects and tools that directly improve and enhance their experience, well-being, and mental health while hospitalized. A patient named Hadley, for example, created a flexible 3D printed prototype to wrap a warming pack around IV bags, reducing the discomfort of cold fluid entering veins. The device holds the potential to help thousands of hospital patients around the world, Krishnan says.
We want to empower children and adolescents to control their environment, learning, and well-being. With 3D printing, they now have the tools to balance living with a chronic illness with their lives outside the hospital.