Saturday, May 25, 2024

3 D Printing

Hello All,
I would like to ask a question.  One that I don’t think has been asked openly.  I just saw a clip on ABC World News Tonight about how a child was gifted a 3D printed  BE prosthesis.  This was made by a group of engineers from a major university.  As we all know, the 3D plans are readily available to anyone that wants to print a prosthesis, free of charge.  They said on prime time news it costs $25 to $50 to make. 

Not if, but when someone puts together the programs already available with current prosthetic software anyone can produce a quality prosthesis.  They just follow the instructions for modifying a scanned model.  The whole secret can now be found in software.  It can be reproduced by a novice with computer skills.  Test sockets can be cheaply made until they get it right.  With the constant innovations in materials used for printing they will soon be able to print a foot ready prosthesis.  It will be a while before they can print feet.  The implications are serious for our profession.

I am an orthotist, and talented if I may say.  I have always felt prosthetics was a simple science, although I have never practiced prosthetics (orthotist bias in full bloom).  They can’t reproduce what I do.  But what if they can?  What if one of the geniuses out there can duplicate my techniques and write the program, with my cooperation?   But not necessarily my cooperation, any talented orthotist with proven techniques.  The program could be written and we all could be in a bit of a pickle.
Is this coming?  Is it?  I almost think it will.  Should we prepare?  Will we become THE 3D printing professionals? 

I could elaborate, but don’t want to put you through it.  Thoughts?  I’ll post responses.

 Kevin C. Matthews, CO/LOAdvanced Orthopedic Designs12315 Judson Rd. #206San Antonio, Texas  78233(210) 657-8100(210) 657-8105  fax


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