Twinning solution

Self-designed 3D printed assistive devices in Europe

Twinning type

Full adoption

Main policy priority

Digital tools for citizen empowerment and for person-centred care


Centre Mutualiste de Rééducation et de Réadaptation Fonctionnelles de Kerpape (France)


Azienda Provinciale per I Servizi Sanitaria, Provincia Autonoma di Trento, Villa Rosa Rehabilitation Hospital, Pergine (Italy); Caserta Local Health Authority – Frailty Department (Italy); Sociedad Española para el Desarrollo de Sistemas de Comunicación Aumentativos y Alternativos (Spain); Dipartimento economia aziendale, sanità e sociale (DEASS), Scuola universitaria professionale della Svizzera italiana (Switzerland); Fundatia Motivation Romania (Romania); Central Remedial Clinic, Clontarf (Italy)

Short description

REHAB-LAB-4ALL aims at (1) transferring an innovative 3D-printing laboratory concept born in France to six other European locations and (2) launching a collaborative IT platform to enable long-term collaboration and feedback. The REHAB-LAB in the first place is a fabrication laboratory integrated into a healthcare organization where people with disabilities can design their own assistive devices using 3D printing. Hence, it is a person-centered care innovation using digital tools. Kerpape (the originator) is one of the biggest rehabilitation centers in France and the only one with an electronic laboratory inside, where dedicated staff launched the REHAB-LAB initiative 3 years ago. Now a REHAB-LAB is in full operation and transfer has been completed to 9 other institutions in France. As a result, the project is already based on practical experience and successful implementation, which give expectations for promising results also in Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Ireland, and Romania.


Twinning activities

The REHAB-LAB-4ALL project was managed by the project “community” manager and the executive REHAB-LAB manager, both from Kerpape Rehabilitation Center, in close relationship with one project manager and one executive REHAB-LAB manager from each adopter. To achieve twinning objectives, different activities were carried out online due to the COVID-19 pandemic, to reduce the cost of the project and to include more partners. Activities included a 3-day online training session about the fundamentals of the project, a training on how to run a REHAB-LAB, the implementation of REHAB-LAB in a full scope and collaboration through the EU community network.


Many of the twinning partners faced difficulties and delays due to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, several partners were still able to design assistive devices, train professionals and gain technical experience. For some of the partners the REHAB-LAB process is now well integrated.

Added value and benefits

Training using video conferences worked well and thanks to it more professionals could be involved. It was easier to split the training into several modules and so it was also easier for partners to gain maturity on their projects between sessions. In the previous year, many new tools to organise online meeting (dynamic online board, interactive technical training, etc.) were discovered to keep the training sessions more interactive and engaging.

Barriers and success factors

Success factors include: 1) Ensuring adopters’ goals fit well with the proposed twinning, 2) ensuring to train people who will manage the REHAB-LAB, 3) making adopters participate as much as possible, 4) good interaction with empirica to ensure answers for all partners involved and to provide help to disseminate results, 5) staying connected with adopters through a common tool (i.e. collaborative platform) to ensure development of practices. Barriers included: 1) Opportunistic approaches from one or more adopter(s), not targeting a common goal to share professional practices, not recognising the originator history and expertise, 2) stakeholders not involved in this operational and short-term twinning.


Beyond the twinning timeframe, the twinning partners plan to work on the following issues: 1) A service-based business model will be designed and offered by Kerpape Rehabilitation Center to other European/international organisations willing to implement a REHAB-LAB with self-funding or through new projects (e.g. with regional, national or European grants), 2) CoWork’HIT, the national centre for innovation and handicap, will serve as a framework for international dissemination (