Eve Darcy has magic shoes. Bright silver and sparkly, they certainly look magical – but their power comes from the carefully designed and 3D printed orthotics inside them. Eve was diagnosed with cerebral palsy when she was just a few weeks old, and until now, the toddler could only walk holding on to a rolling frame. But with her specially tailored Magic Shoes from Australia’s AbilityMate, she’s now walking on her own, and it only took her a couple of days to learn.
“She was in daycare on Wednesday, she walked in with her frame, she didn’t go Thursday, and she walked in on her own on Friday. It happened so fast, she just took off,” said Eve’s father, Joe Darcy.
Eve was obviously ready to walk; she just needed a bit of extra help, as do many children with cerebral palsy. In Australia, where Eve lives, a child is born with the condition every 15 hours, making it the most common childhood physical disability on the continent. Most of these kids will need orthotics throughout their lives, but right now it takes a lot of time to fulfill those needs. Demand for the devices far exceeds the ability of orthotists to keep up, and children can wait up to a year just for an appointment.Once a child finally has an appointment, he or she is subject to an uncomfortable plaster casting process, and from there it can take weeks to translate that cast into a wearable device. With AbilityMate’s method, a 3D scan is taken of the child’s leg and foot in a process that takes seconds, and then the orthotics are 3D printed in as little as 48 hours. A child can be fitted in less than two months, and orthotists are freed up to see more patients, resulting in shorter wait times.
On a global level, 100 million children are in need of orthotics, so AbilityMate’s model is desperately needed. The organization is about to begin a clinical trial, after which it hopes to begin supplying Magic Shoes to children in Australia. AbilityMate has high hopes for the devices, envisioning wait times reduced by 50-80% and orthotist efficiency increased by 400-600%.
AbilityMate is now looking for 20 to 30 children, ages 2-8 years old, who are in need of ankle/foot orthotics and meet strict criteria to participate in the clinical trial. The organization also needs orthotists who are interested in being among the first to offer Magic Shoes to their clients, as well as research partners. If you’re interested in applying for any of the above, you can do so here.
In November of 2016, AbilityMate launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for the Magic Shoes project. Its goal was to raise $20,000; by the end of the campaign, it had drawn in close to $100,000. According to AbilityMate Co-Founder Melissa Fuller, Magic Shoes are just the first product that the organization hopes to be able to eventually offer.
“The potential is endless. We are starting with this product the ankle foot orthotics but there’s orthotics for heads, necks, backs,” she said.
“Eve can just play in the playground like a normal child, that means she can just hang with other kids…and not be held back by the fact she was a lot less mobile,” said Eve’s mother, Hiam Sakakini. “I can go into a playground with her and she can just go.”
AbilityMate lays out its vision as a repeatable four-step plan:
- Step 1: Commercialise our first product and service – Ankle-Foot Orthotics for children with disabilities and upgrade Orthotics clinics in Australia
- Step 2: Make designs available to the global disability community through a safe & ethical open licence and training program.
- Step 3: Develop a scaleable platform whereby approved 3D printing hubs can sign up and get paid to make assistive products.
- Step 4: Hit sustainability and reach people who are desperately in need!
- Go back to step 1: Repeat with the next most needed product.
Discuss in the Magic Shoes forum at 3DPB.com.[Source/Images: 9News]
You May Also Like
ICAM 2021: Keynotes on 3D Printing in Healthcare & Aerospace
At last month’s International Conference on Additive Manufacturing (ICAM) 2021 in Anaheim, California, hosted by ASTM International’s Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence (AMCOE), a wide variety of topics were covered,...
3D Printing Unicorns: Gelato Gets $240M in Funding, Expands into 3D Printing
On-demand printing platform Gelato, based in Oslo, Norway, achieved the coveted unicorn status after a new funding round. On August 16, 2021, the company announced it had raised $240 million...
US Army and Raytheon to Use 3D Systems Metal 3D Printing to Heat-Optimize Munitions
3D Systems (NYSE: DDD) has been chosen by defense contractor Raytheon and the U.S. Army’s central laboratory to help with a design optimization project. To do that, the 3D Systems’...
Raytheon Receives Funding for Aerospace 3D Printing of Optical Components
This spring, Ohio-based America Makes, the leading collaborative partner in additive technology research, discovery, and innovation for the US, announced its latest Project Call for AXIOM, or Additive for eXtreme Improvement...
View our broad assortment of in house and third party products.