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Company Uses 3D Printing and Design To Change the Way We Look At Prosthetics

samzenpus posted about 4 months ago | from the adding-some-flare dept.

Medicine 28

An anonymous reader writes UNYQ (pronounced: unique), a start-up based in San Francisco and Seville, has set out to change the way we look at prosthetics by selling affordable 3D printed prosthetic leg covers, known as "fairings," directly to consumers. The company was co-founded by Eythor Bender, who is best known for developing a prototype bionic exoskeleton that allows paraplegics to walk again. Bender, who has worked with the disabled for over 20 years, was frustrated by the lack of consideration of style in the medical device development process. Despite all the progress made in other areas, the devices still look more or less like a "wooden stick." Bender wants to challenge what we think is possible with prosthetics.

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how interesting! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47331709)

Okay click link. Oh a full page ad.....Click continue to site.......dimmed out website with overlay of how to use the features of this website...Closes page

Re:how interesting! (2)

i kan reed (749298) | about 4 months ago | (#47332625)

Hey! Listen.

Adblock everything. Ads don't respect you? Don't respect them.

Re:how interesting! (1)

Algae_94 (2017070) | about 4 months ago | (#47335027)

That's a valid option to improve your experience. I like the AC's approach too, if a site is overbearing with their multi-page articles, overlays, and ads, just stop reading the page at all and don't go back. That's the true method to "vote with your feet" on the web.

Bender? (3, Funny)

ray-auch (454705) | about 4 months ago | (#47331731)

frustrated by the lack of consideration of style in the medical device development process. Despite all the progress made in other areas, the devices still look more or less like a "wooden stick." Bender wants to challenge what we think is possible with prosthetics.

"Bite my shiny, metal ass!"

[sorry, someone had to say it...]

ooh, a machine gun (2)

Neil Boekend (1854906) | about 4 months ago | (#47331743)

If I lose a leg I want a cover that makes it look like a machine gun, separate from the one for daily use.
I want a GAU-8A Avenger (scaled to fit)!

Re:ooh, a machine gun (1)

Dins (2538550) | about 4 months ago | (#47331777)

Would be cooler with an arm so you could more easily point it at people.

Re:ooh, a machine gun (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47331869)

Untill you are in a dark alley and the police shouts "drop the weapon and put your hands in the air"...

Re:ooh, a machine gun (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47332115)

If you ever get one, have them make three, I'll take the other two.

Regards,

Oscar Pistorius.

language of the heart series continues (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47331755)

a new brand http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6PYpHFwcITI for us http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=native+spirit+language+heart+truth help us bear up to the 'weather' http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=wmd+weather

It's like I never went to a pointless war! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47331759)

Thanks UNYQ!!

Best Quote(paraphrase): "My leg is now badass" (3, Interesting)

microTodd (240390) | about 4 months ago | (#47331761)

A guy quoted in the article said something like, "I've never had someone tell me my leg was badass before." This (seemed to me like) was said in a positive way. Dude is an athlete.

I have to say, I think these guys hit it right on the nose. Why did all prosthetics before look like metal poles or wooden sticks? Why can't they be leg-shaped, like a mannequin? Why can't they be all colorful or sleek, make you look like Iron Man or have your favorite sports team or whatever on it?

I can't even imagine what being an amputee is like, but this seems like a positive, morale-boosting step in the right direction.

Super kudos to them, and super awesome way to show how 3D printing is awesome.

Re:Best Quote(paraphrase): "My leg is now badass" (3, Informative)

Joe Gillian (3683399) | about 4 months ago | (#47331795)

The reason prosthetics are so simple is because of all the FDA testing they have to undergo before they can be sold. More parts means more time and money spent getting the FDA to approve of every single item on the list. By keeping prosthetics simple, the companies that design them manage to avoid a lot of that - there are, after all, only so many questions the FDA can ask about a metal pole or a wooden stick.

3D printing is a great way to get around this, because the FDA (as far as I know) can't regulate things that people make themselves to use for themselves.

Modularization should solve it too right? (4, Interesting)

PPalmgren (1009823) | about 4 months ago | (#47332349)

Make the medical device the prosthetic and the joint connection. The sleeve becomes a cosmetic device in this instance and can be switched out and whatnot without effecting the function of the medical device.

Re:Best Quote(paraphrase): "My leg is now badass" (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47333493)

The reason prosthetics are so simple is because of all the FDA testing they have to undergo before they can be sold. More parts means more time and money spent getting the FDA to approve of every single item on the list. By keeping prosthetics simple, the companies that design them manage to avoid a lot of that - there are, after all, only so many questions the FDA can ask about a metal pole or a wooden stick.

3D printing is a great way to get around this, because the FDA (as far as I know) can't regulate things that people make themselves to use for themselves.

We have previously been unaware of these efforts. Our friends at NSA alerted us to your posts, and we are now tracking these developments quite closely. On behalf of all of us in the regulatory bureaucracy, thank you!

Sincerely,
US FDA

Re: Best Quote(paraphrase): "My leg is now badass" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47334655)

The other component is weight. They try to make prosthetics as light as possible.

Side note, for my last leg I asked for my physician to make it black. Being the old fogie he was, he askef if I meant with the flesh colored skin. :p

Other side note, I like to take my leg apart and replace parts with things like plungers.

Re:Best Quote(paraphrase): "My leg is now badass" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47334973)

Bullshit. I make one for you and I'll sell it direct as a tool. You can call it whatever you like, and I don't need to deal with Insurance companies because I don't negotiate with them anyway. it will be a cash exchange, and that's okay, because my product will be a hell of a lot less expensive than theirs.

Re:Best Quote(paraphrase): (1)

Charles Duffy (2856687) | about 4 months ago | (#47350449)

There's a lot of skill involved in making good orthotics, and I'd expect the same to hold true with prosthetics in general.

My wife has spina bifida, and needs custom-fitted braces. Most of the formerly-independent manufacturers in Austin (which we just moved from) have been bought out by a company that does consistently shoddy work, making one pair after another that was painful to use. Here in Chicago, she went to the place recommended by a research clinic in town that has a focus on adult spina bifida patients (one of seven in the country). I was expecting the orthoptist they recommended to be doing something cutting-edge -- 3D printing off of a scan, or such -- but the process was the traditional way, and matched what had been used to make her last good pair of braces over a decade ago -- traditional casting, a whole lot of experimentation and detailed questions about how things worked for her, and production with a plastic malleable enough to allow adjustments to be made after-the-fact.

If this ends up as a science, rather than an art, I could see it becoming a fully automated process that folks could do at home. As it is, though, there's a big difference between having orthotics made by someone who has a knack for it and someone who just learned the rote steps to go through... and, by their nature, anything a computer can do is going to be rote.

Re:Best Quote(paraphrase): "My leg is now badass" (1)

Threni (635302) | about 4 months ago | (#47331831)

> "I've never had someone tell me my leg was badass before."

Probably a Google translation from the original Chinese of "your leg resembles buttock made from mouldy tofu"

Re:Best Quote(paraphrase): "My leg is now badass" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47332391)

3D printed cowling. It's not exactly the Star Trek revolution that was promised , is it?

less wmd violence fewer limbs lost (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47331783)

& when we do (lose limbs) we could grow new natural ones? http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=stem+cell+therapy thanks moms

I hope he's planning on filing with the FDA (0)

nani popoki (594111) | about 4 months ago | (#47332285)

and including the biocompatibility test results report. What you make a medical device out of matters!

Re:I hope he's planning on filing with the FDA (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47332681)

and including the biocompatibility test results report. What you make a medical device out of matters!

I'm just going to go out on a limb, since the dude has been working with handicapped people professionally for 20 years and has even created an exoskeleton that allows parapalegics to walk, that he knows all about how to comply with the law. Now carry on with your armchair advice!

Re:I hope he's planning on filing with the FDA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47334527)

+1 for 'go out on a limb': precision punning.

+1 for actually bothering to state the obvious to an armchair expert.

Re:I hope he's planning on filing with the FDA (1)

nani popoki (594111) | about 3 months ago | (#47425679)

I'm not exactly an armchair advisor. I develop software for a company which makes a medical product.

Re:I hope he's planning on filing with the FDA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47333557)

and including the biocompatibility test results report. What you make a medical device out of matters!

I don't think that biocompatibility matters so much for something that is a sheath to go over the prosthetic and has little-to-no contact with bodily tissues.

Yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47332323)

It is possible that 3D printing might change the way I look at prostitutes...

Wouldn't it be simpler... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47333565)

.. just to look at prostetics through Google Glass ?

forget feet... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 months ago | (#47336345)

If I lose a lower leg, I want my prosthetic to look like an arm with a splayed-out hand on the end.

Hell, the possibilities are nearly endless.

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