3D printing is being used extensively in medical field and has performed various feats. The recent one has taken place in Poland and involves the creation of a hand-worn orthosis that was specifically built for a particular person who is suffering from mild paresis.
The wearable end result of this projects had to be comfortable and lightweight in order to ensure that no further damage was caused to the weakened area after the device is attached.
It was led by Wroclaw University of Technology’s Eliza Wrobel. Wrobel was asked for help by a 33-year old male who had a partially paralyzed hand. This particular person was unable to grab dumbbells for exercising purpose or play his favorite sport; table tennis.
The research team started off by creating a plaster cast of the patient’s right hand. This was used in the creation of a detailed 3D model. The 3D model was used for guiding while utilizing CAD software for coming up with a mechanical solution design that would be able to cater to the patient’s needs.
The biggest part of the gadget that is known as husk was designed so that it sits snug around the patient’s wrist. Smaller parts were manufactured for supporting the fingers while imitating the structure of the joints. It features a series of lever mechanisms that connect various parts of the device along with a single lever that is located on the back of the hand enables the orthosis for assisting the user in gripping objects.
The design comprises of over 70 different parts and was created using a Zmorph hybrid 3D printer and ABS filaments of different colors. The majority of the parts were created via 3D printer, even the small pins that are used for connecting the lever system.
As per researchers, the orthosis is sturdy enough to be used while physical activities. The team is hopeful that 3D printed rehabilitation orthosis can become something that will find dozens of applications and will subsequently help the patients with their routine tasks.