3D Printing for Prosthetics
As many industries had started implementing 3D printing to reduce the production costs, prosthesis industry is also moving towards 3D printing. Besides the lower cost of 3D printed prosthetic, it also create the needs for personalize. Instead of the common design in the market, amputees can choose various designs or customize their own design.
We would like to share with you some of the prosthetic design printed by 3D Systems.
Natasha Hope-Simpson lost her leg in a hit-and-run accident in November 2013. Due to this unexpected incident, Natasha had to put her whole life on hold but she did not give up. She moved forward with her life with the mindset that she has to be different. She wanted to have a personalize prosthetic that fit her personality and her anatomy as a graduate of Nova Scotia College of Art and Design (NSCAD).
In February 2014, Natasha gave a speech in a class discussing her prosthetic design efforts and the challenges of creating a functional and aesthetic personalize prosthetic. Director of NSCAD, Gregor Ash, happened to hear her speech during his visit.
Inspired by Natasha’s drive and ambition, Ash worked with Thinking Robot Studios, NovaCad, National Defense, Spring Loaded Technology and 3D Systems to take the challenge of creating a prosthetic design in time for NSCAD’s Maker Symposium within 15 days. The only solution for faster lead-time and accuracy is using 3D printing and scanning.
In 2009, Scott Summit was intrigued by this proposition: While prosthetic limbs had come a long way forward in terms of mobility, comfort and improved materials, they still created a stigma for those using them. Could he find a way to make them more affordable yet unique and personalize?
Scott partnered with an orthopedic surgeon, Dr. Kenneth Trauner to research ways in which he could deliver a more customized experience to patience with prosthetic limbs. They found Bespoke Innovations in San Francisco and thru this research, they approached patients using the devices and expose to new 3D software technologies and rapid prototyping devices.
Using Dr. Trauner’s medical expertise and Scott’s industrial design inspiration, they developed a fast, easy system that allows the rapid development of ‘fairings’ for prosthetic limbs that would deliver a higher degree of individuality for users. This process helps put individuality back into prosthetic legs. They add form, symmetry, and sculpture to otherwise lifeless mechanical components. The total process from scanning to editing to manufacturing can take up to 3 weeks depending on changes made to the fairings prior to patient delivery.
For many of the people who have long since felt incomplete or even bored by their generic prosthetic leg. During this process of personalize prosthetic, it is a real journey of empowerment.
Deborah, a proud Bespoke customer who lost her leg in a motorcycle accident, is able to change one of her four fairings every day, depending on her attire and mood. She wears skirts at every opportunity and sees her fairings as a way to show off her prosthetic rather than hiding it.
People around her have certainly taken notice, as reactions have changed from uncomfortable curiosity to admiration. People now use words like “cool” and “sexy” to describe her leg.
Other customers including James, who designed a nickel and black fairing to match his Harley. Chris who uses a sports fairing with built-in shin guard for when he plays soccer.
The Ginkgo Barista manages Ginkgo3D publications.