By Staff | 3ders
An orthosis can be used to provide support for a body part or to correct the shape and function of the body. Traditionally podiatrists use a plaster casting process to mold new orthotics for patients. Nowadays CAD/CAM, CNC machines and 3D printing are involved more in orthotic manufacture.
CRP Group and MHOX Design, in collaboration with medical professionals, has been working on generative orthoses for over an year. They have developed an integrated framework, aiming to replace the traditional sizes system (XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL) with a complete mass customization system.
The system involves three basic phases: 3D scanning the patient's limb; generating the 3D model of the orthosis; fabricating the orthosis using 3D printing.
MHOX Design is a generative design lab based in Modena, Italy. In 2013, the lab developed the Collagene mask editor to create the exquisite customized masks, and each mask was printed using CRP's 3D printing technology and Windform materials. For this new project, MHOX Design has developed a software workflow that integrates the management of scanning sensors, post production of their outputs, and a set of generative algorithms.
The patient first gets a scan using infrared or structured light sensors. Using proprietary software MHOX Design generates 3D model of orthosis which allows designers to design a product that meets specific need of each individual.
"The generation of a 3d model of orthosis allows the designer to differentiate object's morphology from patient to patient, managing specific performance needs, while adapting to personal anatomies. It is possible to create devices with different balances of stiffness and flexibility, allow certain movements while constraining others, integrate an aesthetic value, implement material properties totally new to this objects, such as porosity and surface articulation." notes MHOX Design.
Techniques of generative design and simulation of biological phenomena, have made it possible to reproduce the shape of the orthosis, customised to fit the patient's body. Fabrication of the pieces is then completed by CRP Group using their Windform GT material and 3D printing technology. Windform GT is a polyamide-based material with glass fibre. Its special features make it particularly suitable for applications where the material requires to have high strength, high flexibility and resistance to liquid and moisture.
Their research aims to define the optimum parameters for the design and construction of the orthosis. This could lead to significant saving in the cost and time required in manufacturing the orthosis. As of April 2014, the companies have developed and tested hand orthosis as well as ankle foot orthosis. The final product mirrors the affected limb perfectly, and the test results have been positive.
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