Although the use of effective ankle braces reduces the accident risk during sports, athletes often reject them as a preventive measure due to the introduced discomfort and inflexibility. The Exo-L ankle brace is a new support solution that is effective, easy to use in preventing sporting injuries. Without restricting the freedom of movement of the foot it is very effective preventing ankle sprains.
The company behind this innovative ankle brace is Exo-L, a spin-off company from Erasmus MC and Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) in the Netherlands. The Exo Ligament Concept got nominated by TU Delft in the Netherlands to be one of the best innovations of 2011.
Each Exo-L is custom manufactured based on a scan of athletes ankle so it always fits perfectly. To bring their products to the market Exo-L works together with 3D Worknet, a Dutch 3D printing company. Thanks to 3D printing technology the company is able to create this mass product with unique shape for individual athletes.
The ankle brace has a special coupling piece to connect the brace's band with the shoe. The band is not tensioned during normal movements. Only when the ankle is likely to sprain, the band will be tensioned to provide protection.
(Images credit: Exo-L)
You can order shoes that are immediately provided with an Exo-L patch but it's also possible to add an Exo-L to shoes you've already purchased. Moreover, you can choose your favorite color, add engraving and even put your name on it.
Custom products like braces are very time intensive to make if you don't use 3D printing technology. However in this case it takes only 20 hours to produce 50 EXO-L braces and this production rate will only increase. At 3D Worknet, six EOS 3D printers run 24 hours a day and 7 days a week, producing a variety of products, from personalized dolls and industrial products to ankle braces. Thanks to 3D printing technology even these one off products are easily made. 3D printing makes mass customization reality.
Making ankle brace with Selective Laser Sintering
Henk Anema, co-owner of 3D Worknet, is satisfied with the high quality of 3D printed products: "They have the same quality as full plastic products with homogeneous structures similar to nylon".
The Exo-L will be introduced to the market in first half of 2013.
Watch below the introduction video of the Exo-L. (Sorry, only available in Dutch version.)
Posted in 3D Printing Applications
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