Transforming Orthotics with 3D Printing

Published 03/04/2016

3D printing is changing the medical world every day in different ways, whether it is for prototyping medical tools or making custom medical equipment. In the medical field it is important to make sure every device is accurate, that’s why 3D printing is so important for development and testing. Orthotics represents the branch of medicine that deals with the provision and use of artificial devices such as splints and braces.  These braces can be used as a temporary fix or can even provide long term care.

Traditional ankle-foot orthotic


The University of Michigan has partnered with Altair Engineering and Stratasys to form CYBER team. CYBER team will develop a process to create ankle-foot orthotics for each individual patient. CYBER team was recently chosen and financed by the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute to work together on a solution that will leverage 3D printing to transform the design, comfort, utility and customization of Ankle Foot Orthotics. This solution will incorporate digital design and additive manufacturing through 3D printing.


Stress loading and concentration analysis will allow for AFO part optimization, tailored for individual patient prescriptions


CYBER team will create the digital workflow for the additive manufacturing design, while connecting the digital thread in a cloud-based system. This will connect FDM additive manufacturing technology and Altair software for the production of the customized ankle foot orthoses. The CYBER team believes that cloud-based design and additive manufacturing technologies provide the opportunity to improve healthcare professionals’ care to patients.

There is a great deal of advantages for using additive manufacturing for orthotics. The team will be able to reduce the long delivery time, enhance the level of accuracy, eliminate multiple visits and enhance the limited design freedom. It is amazing what technology can do today. 3D printing is making development easier and more cost/time effective and in turn it will be able to help the patients and doctors as well. To see the full story click HERE


Original write up by Andrew Hanson, Applications Engineer, Stratasys and Scott Rader, General Manager, Medical Solutions, Stratasys

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