Is affordable, sartorial innovation possible in healthcare? A co-design project managed by the Politecnico in Milan Fab Lab (Polifactory)

A project activating designers, medical staff, patients and makers.

What is it?


FABCARE was founded in 2018 as a pilot initiative for a European project (Distributed Design Market Platform) that promotes the creation and distribution of open source products developed by designers, makers and innovators (including patients) and their manufacture through the network of European Fab Labs.


What does it do?


FABCARE has studied the possibility to design and prototype open source healthcare solutions. It allowed designers to collaborate with the Fab Lab of the Politecnico di Milano (Polifactory), and gave them the support of medical specialists (Centro Medico Santagostino) and patients. This has brought to the development of solutions that do not exist on the market, or are not easily accessible or customizable.

How is its impact?


Where applicable – especially in the field of personal care and disability (aids, prostheses, instruments for monitoring and rehabilitation) – digital manufacturing of healthcare solutions brings undeniable advantages to patients: tailoring, reduced costs, possibility of perfect the product, widespread distribution.

How does it activate people?


By allowing all the professionals involved to understand the potential of digital fabrication vs traditional manufacturing and share objectives. The physical presence of designers, physicians and patients in the Fab Lab was fundamental to explain the differences between a project designed for industrialization and an open source one.

Why is it in Design Collisions?


Because FABCARE activates collective intelligence and knowledge sharing. The initial call was attended by over 60 designers with 21 proposals. The development has been carried out by 20 designers in the Polifactory, relying on the support of doctors and specialists, makers, other designers and researchers in the field of design, electronics and information technology.

Is it design?


FABCARE does not experiment with a classic design thinking process. It combines a patient-focused innovation process, practices of co-design and the experimental learning techniques that are typical of makers.



Vitiligo stains appear when the hand is inserted into the mask and the UV lamps are turned on. By tracing the contours on glossy sheets, and overlapping them over time, it is possible to monitor the progress of the disease.


by Marianna Accorsi, Giulia Sala, Giuseppe Valentino


A wearable demonstrator that reproduces, with lights, sounds and vibrations, some effects of atopic dermatitis. Conceived to spread awareness about a pathology that is often misunderstood, it could, in a future development, trace the patient’s behavior and report it, objectively, to the dermatologist.


di Nicolò Bisi, Nur Eral, Mattia Fantoni con Sanofi Genzyme e Polifactory


An educational bra for breast cancer prevention. An infographic engraved on the base explains the 3 types of movement to perform following the cuts on the cups, as well as the timing of the months in which to carry them out. Designed for teenagers, it is suitable for all women.


di Francesca Poli, Daniel Sanchez, Benedetta Beltrami, Luca Sommariva, Chiara Parise