People from all over the world of 3D design are gathered in sunny Los Angeles this week for SOLIDWORKS World 2018, one of the biggest events in 3D software. We’ve been hearing announcements ahead of the show all month, from new 3D printers to new industry partnerships, and the latest one is just as exciting.
Global 3D printing leader Stratasys announced during a press conference at SWW18 this week that it is partnering with Dassault Systèmes and self-taught engineer and industry innovator Easton LaChappelle for a major 3D printed prosthetics initiative. Stratasys and Dassault Systèmes will be the dedicated 3D printing technology and CAD/CAE suppliers for Unlimited Tomorrow, the advanced manufacturing company LaChappelle founded when he was only 18.
“Unlimited Tomorrow is driven by enabling the possible, with unique thinking that results in absolutely incredible ideas,” explained LaChappelle. “Our intent is always ‘user-first’, meaning the technology serves needs of patients from the outset – and it’s all driven by the most advanced technology. We are honored to have Stratasys and Dassault Systèmes join our growing enterprise coalition, further empowering us to change the paradigm for personalized, 3D printed prosthetics and accelerate our-go-to market.”
LaChappelle has been interested in providing 3D printed robotic prosthetics to people who can’t afford them for several years. Through this new initiative, his company will collaborate with Stratasys on research, development, and production of the custom-designed, low-cost prosthetic arms, which reinforces Stratasys’ evolving investment in corporate social responsibility.
Most traditional prosthetics are heavy, not to mention costly – a prosthetic device can cost a recipient anywhere from $20,000 to over $100,000. While that’s a lot of money for anyone, choosing to spend it on children’s prosthetics is even more complicated, as they are still growing and will need new devices. 3D printing can help significantly lower the costs of functional prosthetics, and Unlimited Tomorrow is targeting common issues like cost, customization, and weight to reinvent how artificial limbs are made.
“We view 3D printing as a catalyst for healthcare innovation to enable better patient care, streamline procedures, and improve learning. One of the most visible impacts is in creation of prosthetics,” said Arita Mattsoff, Vice President, Corporate Social Responsibility at Stratasys. “That’s why a main component of our Corporate Social Responsibility program is focused on accessibility of devices – driving true change, improving quality-of-life, and advancing recipients’ self-esteem. Unlimited Tomorrow is bettering the lives of children worldwide with practical and affordable custom-fit devices. We’re proud to team with long-time partner Dassault Systèmes and Unlimited Tomorrow – bringing the technology and know-how to create the best artificial limbs.”
“I started this when I was about 14 years old,” LaChappelle said in a press conference. “I got my first consumer-level 3D printer when I was 16, it was running about 24/7 in my bedroom. I entered this into the science fair and a lot of really amazing things happened. I placed second in the world in the international science fair…I’m very fortunate that my career has stemmed from my passion. We market this directly to amputees, which is a first in this business model for this industry. Current partnerships include Microsoft, Dassault Systemes, Stratasys. The Microsoft documentary received 12 million views in two weeks online. We will continue to highlight these personal, amazing stories.”
Unlimited Tomorrow puts the recipient first, using digital, scanning, and 3D printing technology to build intuitive, scalable models for custom device engineering and streamline development and device fitting. The cooperation with Stratasys will help Unlimited Tomorrow with prosthetic development and production, thanks to its PolyJet expert team, the Stratasys Direct Manufacturing division, and its 3D printed healthcare solutions.
Stratasys solutions are backed by “unique levels of realism,” in order to match the prosthetic to the patient, and Unlimited Tomorrow will have access to the company’s high-quality 3D printing materials and expertise in order to build its functional, strong, and attractive prosthetic devices.
Dassault Systèmes will be bringing its SOLIDWORKS applications to the new partnership, which allows for a high amount of idea-sharing for cost-effective prosthetic devices. The software will allow Unlimited Tomorrow to leverage the 3D design and engineering portfolio in order to speed the design to creation process and get products to market faster.
Suchit Jain, Vice President, Strategy & Business Development, SOLIDWORKS, Dassault Systèmes, said, “In this highly competitive market, true industry leaders encourage efficiency and creativity across all aspects of their operations – particularly in design, manufacturing and product development. Time and again, SOLIDWORKS is the go-to portfolio of applications that makes real innovation possible. It’s very rewarding to align with Stratasys to advance Unlimited Tomorrow’s global initiative.”
Unlimited Tomorrow promises to empower prosthetic recipients, and is now backed by crowdfunding platform Indiegogo‘s equity fundraising efforts in a new socially-aware campaign to provide amputees with inexpensive 3D scanners and computers for digital mapping; the lightweight, custom prosthetic arms will be 3D printed thanks to a worldwide network of 3D printers.
To learn more about the new partnership between Dassault Systèmes, Stratasys, and Unlimited Tomorrow, visit Stratasys at SWW18 this week at booth #701. Also stay tuned for a forthcoming interview with LaChappelle and Michael Gaisford, Director of Healthcare Solutions at Stratasys.
“We applaud Unlimited Tomorrow for their commitment to listen to the ‘crowd’ in crowdfunding for their latest innovation,” said Jonathan Cohen, Chief Enterprise Solutions Officer at Indiegogo. “Indiegogo’s Enterprise offering will allow Unlimited Tomorrow to capture interest and validation while receiving investment from consumers.”
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