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Case Study: 3D printed robotic exoskeleton gives young girl a helping hand

Discussion in 'Science & Technology' started by NHKS, Aug 7, 2012.

  1. NHKS

    NHKS New Member

    Sep 28, 2011
    596 (0.27/day)
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    2-year-old Emma wanted to play with blocks, but a condition called arthrogryposis multiplex congenita(AMC) meant she couldn’t to lift her own arms, although able to walk. It is a non-progressive condition that causes stiff joints and very underdeveloped muscles. Medical experts warned that AMC would prevent Emma from ever experiencing any sort of normalcy. So researchers at a Delaware hospital 3D printed a durable custom device(exoskeleton) with the tiny, lightweight custom parts. It was manufactured using a 3D printer so as to create a prosthetic light enough for young Emma to continue walking around freely.


    The exoskeleton was based on another piece of robotics developed by the Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, Delaware called the Wilmington Robotic Exoskeleton (WREX), an orthopedic apparatus for the arm made from hinged bars and resistance bands that helps children with very little residual strength to move their arms in space. While WREX was able to help arthrogryposis sufferers as young as six, it was built into a wheelchair and was too heavy and bulky for a two year old to make use of regularly.



    For Emma to wear the WREX outside the workshop, it needed to be scaled down in size and weight. The parts would be too small and detailed for the workshop’s CNC system to fabricate. This is where the 3D printing process comes in. The nature of 3D printing also makes it pretty easy to scale production – and in this case Stratasys's Dimension 3D printer has made it easy for Emma's doctors to fabricate robotic "jacket's" to keep up with her growth and that of a further fourteen subsequent child patients.

    The 3D-printed WREX turned out to be durable enough for everyday use. Emma wears it at home, at preschool, and during occupational therapy.

    This, as far as 3D printing is concerned, is the among the best applications of the technology. The driving factor behind any new technology should primarily be for humans to live their lives with normalcy & health.

    never felt this before, 3D printers are cool!.. God bless Emma!

    source: Stratasys via Gizmag
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 20, 2013
    Peter1986C says thanks.
  2. natr0n


    Jan 29, 2012
    4,186 (2.00/day)
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    Boca Raton, Florida
    Also,they could give her low dose low androgenic steroids and her muscles will grow normally.

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