Art4leg (3d Printed Prosthesis Cover) by Martina Kollerová
2016 - 2017, Golden A' Cybernetics, Prosthesis and Bio-Engineering Design Award Winner
The original idea came after a charity golf tournament where designer Tomas Vacek met Czech hockey player Roman Bernat who admirably leads a very active life despite losing part of his right leg in a road accident. During that same period, Tomas Vacek was working with the Centre of 3D printing 3Dees and so the idea to create a fully custom-made prosthesis cover came very naturally. Positive feedback from other amputees showed that the cover could be a very meaningful application of 3D printing technology.
The concept behind the Art4Leg is to create a fully customized and stylish cover for each user. The process starts by taking accurate 3D scans of the user's healthy leg. Secondly, the user chooses a design that they want to apply to the cover. Thirdly, the cover is engineered to precisely fit the user's prosthesis so that it does not interfere with any of the mechanical parts. The end result is fully customized cover that suits their personality and precisely fits their prosthetic device.
Design Challenges
The biggest creative challenge appeared to be fixing of the front and back panels of the cover. The application required both panels holding tightly together while making it easy to remove them. The covers and fixing mechanism also needed to be designed in such a way to prevent twisting during use. The main production challenge was to set up the entire production process involving 3D scanning, model customization, 3D printing and post-processing in an acceptable delivery time.
Production Technology
The covers are produced using industrial quality 3D printers and thermoplastics. Without this technology it would be technically complex and prohibitively expensive to produce a unique cover for each user. 3D scanning is used during the design process for acquiring the anatomical shape of the user's healthy leg and is essential for fine-tuning the fixing mechanism of the cover. Post-processing is needed to achieve the final look of the cover. The covers are painted using industrial color coatings.
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