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December 25, 2014 AT 4:00 pm

William Root – #3Dprinted Exo-Prosthetic leg designed to be affordable – and beautiful #maketheworld #3DThursday #3DPrinting

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3D printed Exo-Prosthetic leg designed to be affordable – and beautiful. From GizMag:

…We’ve seen many low cost prostheses as a result of 3D printing, such as the arm and hand developed by teenager Easton LaChappelle, the “Robohand” and the JaipurKnee, all of which have the potential to make prostheses more accessible.

However, industrial designer William Root’s Exo-Prosthetic leg also acknowledges the importance of beauty in prosthesis design. Root believes the unaesthetic appearance of prosthetic limbs is the result of the flawed and outdated process of producing them.

His Exo-Prosthetic leg looks to modern technologies to streamline the manufacturing process. By using a combination of 3D scanning, 3D printing and 3D modeling software, Root believes the entire process can be automated to create a customizable, affordable and beautiful product.

The patient’s residual limb and remaining intact limb, if present, are first scanned to create a highly precise 3D virtual model, allowing the anatomy to match up within fractions of a millimeter.

During this process the FitSocket technology, developed by the Biomechatronics lab at MIT, also captures leg tissue properties allowing a better fit – and therefore increased comfort – between the residual limb and socket.

The scans of the intact leg, residual limb and off-the-shelf prosthetic mechanisms are then combined in a 3D mesh model to create the raw model of the prosthesis.

To reduce weight, the limb is hollowed out forming an exoskeleton. The surface pattern of the exoskeleton can be customized with patterns and colors to suit the client, or it can later be used as a scaffolding for a silicone sleeve.

The finished model is sent to a 3D printer and printed out of titanium, an extremely durable, lightweight and biocompatible metal. Titanium dust particles are fused together using laser sintering….

Read more.

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