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Company Uses 3D Printing and Design To Change the Way We Look At Prosthetics 28

Posted by samzenpus
from the adding-some-flare dept.
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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Company Uses 3D Printing and Design To Change the Way We Look At Prosthetics

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  • Bender? (Score:4, Funny)

    by ray-auch (454705) on Friday June 27, 2014 @07:32AM (#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...]

  • by Neil Boekend (1854906) on Friday June 27, 2014 @07:35AM (#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)!

    • by Dins (2538550)
      Would be cooler with an arm so you could more easily point it at people.
      • by Anonymous Coward

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

    • by Anonymous Coward

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

      Regards,

      Oscar Pistorius.

  • by microTodd (240390) on Friday June 27, 2014 @07:41AM (#47331761) Homepage Journal

    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.

    • by Joe Gillian (3683399) on Friday June 27, 2014 @07:53AM (#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.

      • by PPalmgren (1009823) on Friday June 27, 2014 @09:05AM (#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: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        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

      • 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 pat

    • by Threni (635302)

      > "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"

  • and including the biocompatibility test results report. What you make a medical device out of matters!
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      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!

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

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