3D Printed Legs: Giving Amputees the Power of Personal Expression
The mission at San Francisco-based Bespoke Innovations is to bring more humanity to people who have experienced the loss of a limb, simply stated on their website as: “Because Every Body is Different.”
Founded in 2009 by an Industrial Designer and an Orthopedic Surgeon, Bespoke is part of the movement towards individualized and innovative medicine. Again, from their website:
Each of our bodies is unique, as are our tastes and styles. Humans are anything but one-size-fits-all, and we want to recognize that fact. We achieve this by creating products that allow our clients to personalize their prosthetic legs. Our hope is to enable our clients to emotionally connect with their prosthetic limbs, and wear them confidently as a form of personal expression. Our products turn something ordinary into something amazing.
Bespoke shares a case study of a woman named Deborah:
In 2004, Deborah lost her lower leg in a motorcycle accident, changing her life from that moment forward. Initially, Deborah was fitted with a standard prosthetic limb in order to regain some of the basic functionality from her life before. Later, she purchased a ‘running leg’ and resumed competitive running through the Challenged Athletes Foundation. She now swims regularly, runs in marathons and is currently training for her first triathlon.
Although the prosthetic limb returned much of the mobility and activity to her life, the titanium hardware and mechanical fittings comprising the new leg simply could not represent her individuality or uniqueness. In 2010, Deborah met with Bespoke Innovations, who presented her with the opportunity to have a custom ‘Fairing’ made. The Fairing, a product that results from a process developed by Bespoke, recreates Deborah’s unique body shape, while allowing her to express her personal style and fashion sense.
How it Works
Bespoke Fairings™ are custom coverings for an existing prosthetic leg, precisely designed to fit the body through 3D scanning technology, and 3D printed to express personality and individuality never before possible. Fairings typically sell for under $5,000.
The video below shows the 3D printing process.
Bespoke has been featured in Bloomberg BusinessWeek and other major publications.
Below is video from Mashable discussing the design and customization process.