IKEA Israel Now Offers 3D Printable Add-Ons to Make Its Furniture Accessible

Two Israeli NGOs partnered with IKEA to develop accessibility items that make products user-friendly for people with disabilities

Mar 13, 2019
Special Collections: THE ABILITY IN DISABILITY

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Disability, IKEA

IKEA is known worldwide for furniture and household items that are stylish and affordable and very popular even if they require assembly. Now some of the best selling furniture and household items sold in the company's Israeli stores will become much more user-friendly for people with disabilities.

That's because IKEA Israel teamed up with two NGOs, Access Israel and MILBAT, which focus on helping accessibility and inclusion of people with disabilities to create the new ThisAbles line. The line consists of 13 add-ons to help make products more accessible to people with different types of disabilities.

"There is a large population of people with disabilities who cannot enjoy and use a variety of products, furniture and household items that we and our retail colleagues offer to the public," CEO of IKEA Israel Shuki Koblenz told the Jerusalem Post that "IKEA has vowed to create a better daily life for as many people as possible, and we feel it is our duty to create this initiative and allow people with disabilities to enjoy a wide range of products, furniture and household items."

Access Israel conducted a survey with IKEA in all the departments and found 130 furniture and household items that were suitable to be made accessible for people with disabilities according to the NGO and they were designed by MILBAT, an organization dedicated to increasing the independence of disabled people by means of assistive devices and technology.it was a perfect fit.

The add-ons are designed to make doors and closets open easier, there is a leg extender for sofas and chairs to make sitting and standing easier, a place to attach walking sticks or canes to beds so they are easily accessed, a mega lamp switch, a wide handle for shower curtains that makes them easier to pull open, and even special bumpers to attach to furniture at wheelchair levels.

IKEA has placed special tags that detail the suitability and benefits of the add-ons for people with different disabilities on the 130 items that can be modified by the ThisAbles in all four of their stores in Israel. The smart additions will also be displayed in a special area so that shoppers can view the items and see how they connect to existing products.

The full series of additions and the IKEA products that can be modified are available on the ThisAbless website along with helpful product training videos. The products can be purchased on the MILBAT website or people can scan the barcode of the new products to print independently in a 3D printer. This makes them readily available to people who live in other countries.

Today, according to Access Israel, over 1.6 million people – 18 percent of the population – live with disabilities;  around 700,000 of them are severe. The current lack of accessibility makes life more difficult for the disabled and their families and the NGO is working towards technology solutions to make Israel more accessible.

"I am convinced that this initiative will actually improve the quality of life of people with disabilities in Israel and around the world," Yuval Wagner, president and founder of nonprofit Access Israel, told the Jerusalem Post.

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BONNIE RIVA RAS, EDITOR & WRITER
Bonnie Riva Ras has dedicated her life to promoting social justice. She loves to write about empowering women, helping children, educational innovations, and advocating for the environment & sustainability.

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