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Stratasys/Ambionics Reach Breakthrough: Create Unique 3D Printed Child Prosthetic

Published on 2017-03-29. Author : SpecialChem

Two-year-old Sol with his Fully-functioning Stratasys' 3D Printed Hydraulic Prosthetic Arm
Two-year-old Sol with his Fully-functioning
Stratasys' 3D Printed Hydraulic Prosthetic Arm
MINNEAPOLIS & REHOVOT, Israel -- Stratasys Ltd. has recently announced that its multi-material, multi-color PolyJet 3D printing technology has enabled Ben Ryan, founder of Ambionics, to create a fully-functioning 3D printed hydraulic prosthetic for his two year old son, Sol.

Unique Prosthetic for Infants


Researching infant development with prosthetics, Ben Ryan has developed a unique prosthetic for infants to wear, enabling a more natural acceptance of prosthetic arms for young children. 
  • An unparalleled innovation within this sphere of the medical field, the customized design and production of the 3D printed hydraulic prosthetic has delivered cost savings of up to 76%, as well as time savings in design and production of 90%, compared to traditional methods of manufacture. 
  • This crucially permits prosthetics to be used at an earlier developmental stage. 

Stratasys’ 3D Printing Role


  • Ben designed and created his son’s 3D printed hydraulic prosthetic arm on the Stratasys Connex 3D Printer. 
  • First practicing with prototypes of his design, Ben 3D printed flexible actuators and a power-splitting unit (double acting helical bellow or DAHB) for the prosthetic. 
  • According to Ben, the DAHB unit enables the wearer to open and close the thumb in manual mode or with assistive power (using compressed air or a hydraulic pump and reservoir), but the grip continues to operate manually in the event of power interruption. 

Father Develops Prosthetic for Son
Ben Ryan explained:
"The success of my patented DAHB mechanism draws on the advanced capabilities of the Stratasys Connex Printer - the ability to combine rigid and soft materials in a single print was vital to the success of the design. We were fortunate enough to have access to this technology, which enabled us to 3D print a prototype arm so quickly and cost-effectively. In founding Ambionics, it's now my goal to ensure that other limb deficient children like my son are not faced with the current constraints and delays of traditional prosthetic manufacture."

To develop the design for the prosthetic, Ben relied on the use of Autodesk Fusion 360.

Paul Sohi, a product design expert at Autodesk, said:
"This is a very innovative and ambitious project and it's been inspiring to work with Ben on it. "It is amazing that despite Ben having no real background in product design, he's effectively taught himself enough to create something that will not only help his own son Sol, but in Ambionics, potentially others facing the same challenges too."

As well as its lightweight 3D printed design that weighs less than traditional myoelectric alternatives, the hydraulic prosthetic is body-powered and enables infants to grow accustomed to their "arm" earlier than traditional fittings. The ability to operate without the need for any electronic devices or batteries is unique to the Ambionics design and mitigates the risk of injury.

Scan of the Arm to Wearable Prosthetic in Just Five Days


3D Printed Prosthetic Saves Cost
While the NHS takes 11 weeks to convert the plaster cast of the arm into a wearable prosthetic, Ben Ryan was able to produce the prosthetic in only five days. With the flexibility to keep the scan on file, the digital copy allows replacement prosthetics to be easily produced through 3D printing.

Ben Ryan added:
"Essentially the entire prosthetic is 3D printed. Only Stratasys' strong rubber-like and dissolvable support 3D printing materials make production and use of the DAHB units possible. The internal cavities are complex and it would be impossible to remove the support material using mechanical means. The materials must also be strong yet flexible as they are used to transmit fluid pressure to operate the grip."

Having patented its DAHB technology inside the prosthetic, Ambionics is aiming to offer the service to healthcare providers worldwide. Continuing its research and testing into infant development with prosthetics, the company is starting a Crowdfunding campaign on March 1st to enable medical device usability trials, which are required before seeking authorization to launch the product into the market.

Scott Rader, General Manager, Healthcare Solutions, Stratasys, said:
"This case is indicative of 3D printing's ability to improve lives by overcoming the traditional barriers of low-volume manufacturing. We continue to support and enable innovators like Ben to bring customization to mainstream prosthetics manufacture."

About Stratasys Ltd.


For more than 25 years, Stratasys Ltd. has been a defining force and dominant player in 3D printing and additive manufacturing - shaping the way things are made. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota and Rehovot, Israel, the company empowers customers across a broad range of vertical markets by enabling new paradigms for design and manufacturing. The company's solutions provide customers with unmatched design freedom and manufacturing flexibility - reducing time-to-market and lowering development costs, while improving designs and communications.

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Source: Stratasys Ltd.
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