The Contribution of Additive Manufacturing in the Design of Inclusive Prostheses
Authors: Emilio Rossi
Abstract: Prostheses are fundamental tools to improve the quality of life of people with physical impairments. However, the way prostheses are designed and produced follows traditional design and manufacturing processes tied to conventional industrial methods. Additive manufacturing (AM) technologies employed through inclusive-oriented design angles can support designers in the creation of enabling – re: inclusive – medical solutions helping patients to live better whilst mitigating the social stigma of living with a medical device in replace of a body part. The inclusive design and production of transradial prostheses using AM is examined in this paper, as well as the effects that the change from conventional manufacturing methods is having on the procurement process, the potential for design developments, and how these affect the perceptions of users and society. Research was done into some relevant case studies of transradial prostheses in order to comprehend how AM was being employed and how Inclusive Design practices can improve AM processes.This study demonstrates how the combination of Inclusive Design and AM has benefited the creation of enabling upper limb prosthesis in numerous ways. Some features include the fact that the availability of AM technologies (i.e., printers) allows for the production of prostheses at lower costs and in remote places with quicker turnaround times and less highly trained workers than traditional methods. General discussions on the suitability of using an Inclusive Design angle for AM are included at the end of the work.
Keywords: Additive Manufacturing, Inclusive Design, Prostheses
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