Implementation of user feedback to improve 3D printed orthotics and prosthetics design and manufacturing process

Principal investigator: Won Joo, Arif Sirinterlikci, and Rika Carlsen

University: Robert Morris University

Industry partners: Union Orthotics & Prosthetics Co.

As additive manufacturing (AM) technologies improve, the development of patient-specific medical devices is becoming an increasingly attractive market. Since 2018, with a grant from the Commonwealth of PA Department of Community and Economic Development, Robert Morris University (RMU) has been collaborating with Union Orthotics & Prosthetics Co. (Union Orthotics) to explore the use of AM for patient-specific medical devices in the orthotics and prosthetics industry. Union Orthotics is a leading custom orthotic and prosthetic device manufacturer in Western Pennsylvania, and the manufacturing engineering program at RMU has successfully collaborated with many other industries to develop AM technologies. There are still many technical challenges to overcome to make AM technology more reliable and practical in the field. With a new grant, RMU and Union Orthotics will continue the design and process optimization, and will conduct clinical tests of 3D printed prosthetic sockets with selected patients for feedback. This feedback will be implemented into the design process and will be a critical step to fill the gap between technology and user needs.