The perfect fit
In areas of conflict, people lose their limbs every day due to weapons and mines. Custom-fit yet low-cost prosthetics could help the victims. Researchers at FAU and Fachhochschule Lübeck are working together on a way to develop custom-fit prosthetics, with the help of 3D scanning and printing, which is simple and inexpensive, yet can be done locally using recycled materials. Their work has been recognised as one of 100 projects in Germany as a ‘Landmark in the Land of Ideas’. The prize was awarded during the Ludwig Erhard Symposium in Nuremberg.
What online shopping and prosthetics have in common
The project ‘3DPro – high-quality prosthetics for developing countries’ was initiated by Dr. Christian Zagel from the Chair of Services, Intelligence and Processes. The FAU scientist had the idea during his work on a 3D body scanner. A three-dimensional image of the body is created using a camera. This allows customers to try on clothes virtually in an online store. But the system is also suitable for other purposes, where fit is of great importance – like prosthetics. Bruising, pain and inflammation can only be avoided if the stem of a prosthesis is tailored to the individual patient. The prosthetics will be produced with relatively cheap 3D printers, from recycled plastics such as plastic cups. To increase comfort, the prosthesis stem will be lined with soft silicone.
Selected from around 1000 applications
‘The 3DPro project is an impressive example of what can be achieved with interdisciplinary collaboration and 3D printing – to the benefit of people around the world as well as the environment,’ said Dieter Gobernatz from Deutsche Bank, who presented Dr. Zagel with the prize. In the competition, which focuses on collaborative research projects that benefit society as a whole, the ‘Germany – Land of Ideas’ initiative and Deutsche Bank recognise pioneering ideas that tap the potential of communities for working together, co-operating, and networking to help society to solve current or future challenges. A panel of experts selected the 3DPro project from around 1000 applications.
Dr. Christian Zagel
Phone: +49 911 5302856