Technology Enables Blind Man to 'See' New Home

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ROCK HILL, S.C.--(BUSINESS WIRE)---- A leading provider of 3-D modeling, the University of Louisville and Harvest Technologies, teamed up to create models of a home for a Louisville, Ky., family featured on ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition."

Nineteen-year-old Patrick Henry Hughes, the family's eldest son, is blind and disabled, overcoming challenges to become a musician and an inspiration to all those around him. The "Extreme Makeover" team rebuilt in just seven days the Hughes family home to be safe and wheelchair accessible for Patrick Henry. The show was taped last November and aired on ABC in late February.

Models of the home were built with 3D Systems' technology by the University's RPC and Harvest. Patrick Henry was given the DuraForm(R) PA and Accura(R) 25 models, two 'Go Pro' material solutions from 3D Systems, so he could "see" the shape and layout through touch at the same time the crowd chanted "move that bus" and his family was experiencing the thrill of visually seeing their new, improved home.

"He would have had no idea what the house looked like or understand the floor plan to get around without our models," said Tim Gornet of the University's RPC at the J.B. Speed School of Engineering.

Just days before the family was returning to their newly renovated home, Gornet was asked by the construction company, Elite Homes of Louisville, KY., to build a model home for Patrick Henry. With no time to spare, he called David Leigh at Harvest Technologies to build a second, back-up model. The deadline was 48 hours.

The University's RPC successfully built a nine-piece model on a 3D Systems' SLS(R) System with DuraForm(R) PA Plastic, a durable and functional nylon material that has excellent surface resolution. It took 22 hours to build the 18 by 15 by 7 inch model and another 10 hours for finishing touches. The model was completed at midnight Tuesday, delivered to the contractors at 8 a.m. Wednesday and presented to Patrick Henry later that day.

At the same time, Harvest Technologies, a full-service, high-capacity provider of Rapid Prototyping services, built a slightly larger three-piece model of the home. The roof and ceiling were made with Accura(R) 25 Plastic, a flexible material that simulates the aesthetics and properties of polypropylene, on a 3D Systems' accurate, reliable Viper(TM) Pro SLA(R) System. A Sinterstation(R) Pro SLS(R) System, known for its high throughput and speed, created the body of the house - built in DuraForm(R) PA Plastic.

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"The models were exactly what we expected and more," said Joe Pusateri, president of Elite Homes. "The roof was removable so Patrick could put his hands in the house and feel where the walls were located. He lived in a non-handicapped accessible home where he learned his way around. He was going to have to learn a new route in the new home."

The RPC model now sits in Patrick Henry's bedroom, while Elite Homes is displaying the Harvest model with plans to paint it to look like a miniature version of the house.

To read the entire customer success story, visit To learn more about the University of Louisville's Rapid Prototyping Center, visit For information on Harvest Technologies, a 3D Systems' Preferred Parts Service Provider, visit

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