3D Printing Gives Amputees Custom-Designed Legs [VIDEO]

Sam Laird

A San Francisco company called Bespoke Innovations is using 3D printing and modeling technology to give prosthetic limbs new life as custom-designed, wearable pieces of art.

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Here's how it works: First, the company 3D scans both customers' natural and prosthetic legs. A 3D computer model is created, maintaining as body symmetry as possible between the two limbs. Then, the client begins directing the customization process of his or her new fairing. (A fairing is the prosthetic covering for an artificial limb.) Customers can choose from a range of patterns, templates and materials, and Bespoke is preparing to introduce an online tool for more experimentation. Finally, the specially-designed end result is produced using 3D printing technology.

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It all adds up, Bespoke says, to prosthetic limbs that actually reflect their users' personalities and tastes. The custom fairings cost between $4,000 and $5,000, according to the company's website.

“We are working on this guy from Israel right now,” co-founder Scott Summit tells Bloomberg Businessweek. “We are designing a Porsche 911 aesthetic for him. It’s a really classic design with clean lines and timeless detailing. We just did three other legs for three guys in Germany, all to reflect their very distinct personalities.”

Do you think this is a cool use of 3D printing technology? Where else do you want to see 3D printing tech applied for innovation? Let us know in the comments.

Thumbnail image courtesy Bespoke Innovations

This story originally published on Mashable here.