3D printed prosthesis cover
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.
UNIQUE PROPERTIES / PROJECT DESCRIPTION:
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.
OPERATION / FLOW / INTERACTION:
The style and functionality of the cover gives the prosthetic device a brand new dimension. They are not designed to be hidden from view nor try to disguise themselves as a natural leg, rather they are statement, a talking point, something of which the user can be proud. The covers naturally eliminate shyness of people when communicating with handicapped by creating a positive talking point. At the same time, it improves self-confidence of an amputee using Art4Leg cover. The covers are very simple to attach and remove through the use of high-powered magnets and a clever clamping system.
PROJECT DURATION AND LOCATION:
The project started in January 2015 in Prague, and the first prototype was exhibited in INSPO 2015 in March 2015. The first collection was completed and launched in June 2016.
PRODUCTION / REALIZATION TECHNOLOGY:
The covers are produced using industrial quality 3D printers and thermoplastics. Without this technology it would 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.
SPECIFICATIONS / TECHNICAL PROPERTIES:
The Art4Leg prosthesis cover is fully customized for each individual user. 3D scanning and 3D printing technology is used to customize the cover. A typical cover for an above-the-knee amputee is approximately 45cm tall by 13cm diameter, but this varies greatly according to the individual customers.
Art4Leg, Tomas Vacek, prosthesis cover, customized design, stylish, 3D print, 3D scan
Instead of using questionnaires, we attended informal meetings with amputees, their patient organizations and exceptional individuals. Some of them became team members testing and improving the product. We wanted to get involved, join conversations and seek out experiences that get to the heart of what matters most. Amputees wanted a stylish enhancement of their sophisticated prosthetic device that can improve their self-confidence, something of which they can be proud. An improvement that can naturally eliminate shyness by creating a positive talking point.
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.
TEAM MEMBERS (5) :
Designer: Tomas Vacek, Project & Marketing Manager: Martina Kollerova, Partnership Manager: Richard Stevens, 3D Printing: Adam Rehak and Post-production: Frantisek Hula
Image #1: Photographer Jiri Vacek (Studiovacek), ART4LEG, 2016
Image #2: Photographer Jiri Vacek (Studiovacek), ART4LEG, 2015
Image #3: Photographer Jiri Vacek (Studiovacek), ART4LEG, 2016
Image #4: Photographer Jiri Vacek (Studiovacek), ART4LEG, 2016
Image #5: Photographer Jiri Vacek (Studiovacek), ART4LEG, 2016