Researchers at Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) worked in partnership with colleagues at Maastricht University and Danish biomechanical firm AnyBody Technology to develop the pioneering human foot simulation.
The team uses motion sensor cameras to measure the leg or foot and then uses computer technology to model the many bones, joints, ligaments, muscles and tendons which make up the human foot. Previous to this development, it is very difficult to make a foot model. Often the model is made from plaster and then plastic is moulded around it by experts in hand. This process could take up to 6 weeks.
The new technology will lead to the manufacture of better made and more efficient orthotic devices. It is estimated that roughly 200 million Europeans suffer from disabling foot and ankle conditions and these devices should cut recovery times and reduce symptoms for these patients.
The university is leading a euro 3.7 million funded project to develop a new fully integrated design and manufacture process for orthotic devices using 3D printing technology.
Professor Jim Woodburn, project co-ordinator, said: "The Glasgow/Maastricht foot is a game changer. It opens the door to a huge range of applications, including the manufacture of better and more efficient orthotics, resulting in quicker recovery times, reduced symptoms and improved functional ability for those suffering from conditions which afflict the foot and lower leg."
Michiel Oosterwaal, clinical researcher at Maastricht University Medical Center, explained the model will also lead to more and better information about the workings of the muscles in the lower leg.
Posted in 3D Printing Applications
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