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Lisa

Lisa O'Brien

Year of Award: 2017 Award State: Victoria Health And Medicine > Prosthetics
The Jack Brockhoff Foundation Churchill Fellowship to gain new knowledge regarding 3D-printed hand prostheses - USA, Brazil, UK, Netherlands
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Major lessons learned and conclusions

  • People with arm/hand differences have traditionally had few options for prostheses, given there has been little industry investment in research and development. 3D printing technology generated excitement in consumers and designers and provides endless opportunities for customised products at low cost;
  • Agencies acting in the 3D printing and design space for people with limb differences MUST partner with skilled prosthetists in their local area, as recipients have very specific and unique needs and prosthetists have the necessary expertise to best accommodate these;
  • Getting the socket fit right is the most important aspect of providing these devices. Existing downloadable designs for people with partial hands do not provide adequate sockets, and are likely to be abandoned;
  • For the terminal device (e.g. the “hand” or “hook”) many consumers prefer a life-like appearance, especially when using the hand in public. Task-specific devices, however, are usually more functional;
  • If the terminal device is to be hand-like, mechanical linkage systems for digits may be more robust than cable-driven ones;
  • Selective laser sintering (SLS) is capable of smoother, more precise shapes than Fused Deposition Modelling (FDM) and may be more cosmetically acceptable to consumers;
  • Consumers require follow-up care with skilled health practitioners for re-fitting the device as required and training in how to use it to do the activities they want/need to do. Models of practice which involve makers/designers creating the device remotely (i.e. without working face-to-face with the consumer and their healthcare team) have been unsuccessful and are to be discouraged.


Keywords: 3D Printing, Prosthetics, Prosthesis, Assistive Devices, Amputee

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