Revolutionizing Comfort: Testa-Seat Triumphs in the FGF Engineering Challenge with Innovative 3D-Printed Adaptive Seating

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15 Mar, 2024

Revolutionizing Comfort: Testa-Seat Triumphs in the FGF Engineering Challenge with Innovative 3D-Printed Adaptive Seating

3D printed Body-contouring Therapeutic Positioning Equipment provides support for people with mild to moderate control of the body and reduces damage caused by improper seating during child development.

Testa-Seat has been recognized for its use of FGF 3D printing to create custom seating solutions for children with disabilities. This product is the winner of the 2024  3D Printing FGF Engineering Challenge, an engineering challenge aimed at identifying and nurturing innovative applications of fused granule fabrication technology.

Testa-Seat will receive $25,000 worth of support from Mitsubishi Chemical Group to improve the 3D printing material, design, and manufacturing process for their business.

Background and Objective

Adaptive seating for children with disabilities presents a complex challenge, requiring solutions that can adapt to diverse needs while being economically viable. Traditional methods often fall short, being either too expensive or not sufficiently customizable. Testa-Seat, developed by Alexander Geht and his team, introduces a new approach to this problem, leveraging 3D printing to offer affordable tailored support systems.

Traditional seating is often not suitable for children with disabilities who require more support or differently sized seating options. Appropriate seating enables these children to increase their access to education, the labour market, and other activities of daily life.

Testa-Seat’s Approach

The core innovation lies in Testa-Seat’s utilisation of 3D printing technology, specifically Fused Granule Fabrication (FGF), to manufacture seating solutions that are both customizable and cost-effective.

This process begins with the precise measurements of the user, which are then input into a design system to create a digital model of the seat. The 3D printer uses ABS pellets, a type of plastic known for its strength and flexibility, to build the seat layer by layer. This method allows for the production of seats that are perfectly contoured to the individual's body, ensuring maximum support and comfort without the need for traditional and often imprecise casting or moulding techniques. 

The use of FGF not only streamlines the manufacturing process but also significantly reduces waste, as materials are only used where necessary, contributing to the environmental sustainability of the project.

Image credit: Testa-Seat

Technical and Manufacturing Readiness

Testa-Seat has reached a significant level of technical readiness, having been tested and optimised through the delivery of over 120 seating systems to rehabilitation centres, hospitals, and private customers. The manufacturing process, currently capable of producing around 300 seats per year, is set for expansion in the near future.

Team and Expertise

The project is driven by a diverse team of experts, including founder and CEO Alexander Geht, an expert in additive manufacturing, and a range of advisors and board members with backgrounds in entrepreneurship, law, physical therapy, industrial design, and assistive technology.

Image credit: Testa-Seat


Testa-Seat's victory in the engineering challenge is a step forward in making everyday life more accessible for children with disabilities. As Testa-Seat continues to develop and refine its products, it sets a precedent for how innovation and technology can work hand in hand to address complex challenges in healthcare and accessibility.

Special Mention

The competition saw numerous compelling entries, and besides the winner, two submissions particularly distinguished themselves.

From Poland, the startup HELIX, initiated by Filip Turzynski, is pioneering a compact, cost-effective, durable, and versatile FGF extrusion system adaptable to a wide range of both desktop and industrial 3D printers. This innovation transforms pellet-based 3D printing by allowing for the creation of smaller components with a broader array of printing materials.

In the United States, Bala Cherukuri and his team at Center Street Technologies have introduced a breakthrough in large format additive manufacturing using water-soluble polymer pellets. Their innovation is centred on the production of cores and mandrels for composite parts, especially useful in the large-scale production of airframes.

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About Mitsubishi Chemical Group Growth Garage

Growth Garage is the Open Innovation Hub of the Mitsubishi Chemical Group. Its mission is to support and develop new ideas and projects using advanced manufacturing technologies and Specialty Materials, to help tackle some of today's biggest engineering challenges. Growth Garage is offering opportunities for engineers, innovators, and entrepreneurs from startups, scaleups and innovative companies to join the community and submit their ideas and projects through the open innovation programs. Successful applications will get exposure and access to Mitsubishi Chemical Group’s network of industry experts, Mitsubishi Chemical Group’s Corporate Venture Capital team and business partners to advance their ideas and projects.

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