Medical 3D printing is taking the world by storm. It has applications in various fields. In orthotics, industrial 3D printers are used to manufacture custom sized orthoses, braces as well as prosthesis and parts for powered exoskeletons. In Poland, 3D printing has been used to create an extremely specialized device – a hand worn orthosis built specifically for one particular patient.
With this 3D printed rehabilitation orthosis a disabled man can perform physical activities. The prototype of the device was manufactured on ZMorph hybrid 3D printer. Biomedical Engineering student Eliza Wrobel faced the challenge of designing a special 3D printed rehabilitation orthosis for a patient during her studies at Wroclaw University of Technology in Poland.
She was asked for help by a 33 year old man suffering from tetraplegia (limb paresis), after being in an accident several years ago. He needed a light, yet durable orthosis that could help him grap objects during rehabilitation and other physical activities. Wrobel started with making a plaster cast of the patient’s hand which was later filled with liquid ceramic mass and supported by a metal bar inside. The hand’s model was then grinder and then 3D scanned using the ATOS II machine available at the University. The orthosis consisted of over 70 different parts which were then 3D printed on Morph 2.0 hybrid 3D printer. The durability of the ABS based 3D parts printed on the ZMorph, the prototype can be used by the patient during physical activities.
Further works on this student’s idea could soon result in a wide production of custom made 3D printed rehabilitation orthosis for patients with a hand paresis and hopefully significantly improve their everyday life.