German Designer 3D Prints Customized, Affordable Children’s Prostheses

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oneOne of the most challenging things to happen to a child is to be born without a limb — or to lose one later in life due to an accident or illness.

All of the activities that are so normal to most of our younger ones, such as playing with blocks and Legos, riding a bike, or playing video games, become enormous challenges — but you can bet they are still motivated to try and do it. Designing, creating, and 3D printing prosthetics is no small task either — but you can bet Johanna Gieseler was still motivated and determined to provide a better and easier way for kids to add mobility and grasp to their lives, as they are just beginning to grow and hopefully, flourish.

threeGieseler is aware of the issues kids go through due to defects, amputations, and curve balls thrown at them during the unfair game of life. She’s also aware that prosthetics can be a very expensive endeavor and even after many dollars have been spent — along with hours for fittings — they are not a perfect fit and children outgrown them so quickly that as soon as one prosthetic is finished being made, it’s practically time to start on another.

With the clear understanding that what children want and need is basic functionality — not glitz, glamour, and bionics, per se — Gieseler set out to make a realistic and affordable prosthetic for children that could be adapted and customized. The German industrial designer focuses on producing 3D printed prosthetic devices that are specifically customized to the unique wants and requirements of each child with upper limb loss — rather than due to a specific formula a company mass producing prosthetics has theorized would be proper.

Gieseler’s 3D printed prosthetics are important due to not only their affordability, but also their adaptability. With a 3D printed hand that functions for activities like eating, writing, and bike riding, children are able to do the normal activities they have been struggling with. They are also able to have the 3D printed prosthetic made exactly to their measurements, with the benefit of easily being able to change the 3D design and re-print with growth.two

The prosthetics will be shown in April during Milan Design Week 2015 at the Ventura Lambrate exhibition area. Ventura Lambrate aims to give a venue for new and expressive designers to show off emerging trends, new concepts, and niche projects.

We’ve been able to cover many stories regarding 3D printing of prosthetics for kids, and each time it has a unique twist, as the individuals behind these tend to be compassionate artisans. Often recently, we’ve reported on large volunteer groups like e-NABLE who come together as well to 3D print prosthetics, working to provide more to kids who are struggling with physical challenges while already living in very difficult conditions.

Do you know a child who could benefit from a 3D printed prosthetic? What do you think of this latest 3D printed prosthetic design? Tell us your thoughts in the 3D Printed Children’s Prosthetics forum over at 3DPB.com.

[Source: designboom]

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