Below are the stages of the research project briefly summarized that after three years resulted in the marketing of 3TOOL:
The first year was dedicated to embodying the working hypothesis on different pieces that were printed using 3D printers. The use of this 3D printing technology allowed the testing of the different prototypes and analysis of its use. This was possible thanks to a project funded by the ARAID foundation (Aragon government and Ibercaja bank).
The second year was dedicated to testing different materials to reach satisfactory tests by both physiotherapists and patients. Manual prototypes with different hardness and deformation capacities that were part of a study were produced, in order for both types of users to select the best for each application. This second year was financed with support from the DPZ (Diputación Provincial de Zaragoza).
In the third year, with the results an industrialization process started and the first prototypes were sent to expert physiotherapists for their opinions. Also market research was conducted and a crowdfunding campaign was launched. With expert input, changes were made to the consistency of the parts to improve some aspects of its use and the research block concluded. With the contributions of the users we decided to introduce improvements adding to the 3TOOL a user manual and a bag for storage. In the absence of funding for this last phase, a crowdfunding campaign that was rewarded with an exclusive edition in yellow for all those who supported it was launched. Between July and August 2014 the pieces were sent to the people who supported us and with their support we could start marketing the tool. In its first anniversary sales forecasts were surpassed and presence in 18 countries was achieved.
The hallmarks of 3TOOL are that it is designed and manufactured in Spain, as synonymous of quality and warranty of a product that has been certified as Class I Health Product by the Spanish Agency for Medicines and Health Products. It also shows the existing talent in Spain where even in difficult times when it is hard for projects to advance there are quality researchers and professionals who know how to make a difference. Despite the simplicity of this physiotherapy tool for self-treatment of pain, there is a joint engineering and health effort behind it to achieve the perfect densities and shapes, which would allow treating adequately the three most common ailments in patients, both by the professionals and by the patients themselves.