3D Printed Stylish Prostheses—MIAMI Project for Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games
The University of Tokyo
3D printed sprint prosthesis “Rami” Photo provided by Prototyping & Design Laboratory / Photo taken by Mr. Yasushi Kato
October 2014 marked the start of the MIAMI Project (Manufacturing Initiative through Additive Manufacturing Innovation) as part of the Cross-ministerial Strategic Innovation Promotion Program (SIP) headquartered in the Government of Japan’s Cabinet Office.
Elysium’s best-in-class 3D geometry handling technology supports athletes with impairments for the victory in Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games through this project.
The Rio 2016 Paralympic Games was the largest version of the Paralympic Games ever held, and the Paralympic baton was then passed to Tokyo. At the closing ceremony, a Japanese amputee, a famous prosthesis model, received attention when they performed with an artistic, complex, yet stylish prosthesis.
In such excitement, the MIAMI project was undertaken to deliver stylish prostheses to Paralympians leveraging additive manufacturing technology.
The aim of this project is to determine if additive manufacturing technology can be used not just in prototyping and development, but also production using the following three approaches:
The members of this project consist of:
There are certain shapes which are impossible to manufacture through mold manufacturing. As a next generation technology to tackle such restrictions, additive manufacturing has been a hot topic in the manufacturing industry in recent years.
Additive manufacturing, generally known as 3D printing, is a technology to achieve speedy production based on 3D data and is expected to reduce the lead time in both designing and production phases, resulting in reduced costs.
It also holds great potential as a technology for mass customization—a manufacturing technique that combines the flexibility and personalization of custom-made products with the low unit costs associated with mass production. It is an effective technique for products that need to be custom designed to fit natural objects such as human bodies. The MIAMI project is focused on sprint prostheses which requires precise adjustments to perfectly fit each user’s limb.
Elysium’s role in the MIAMI project is taking charge of the development of computer-aided designing tool designed for additive manufacturing.
In the first phase, we set a goal to develop software to intuitively design inner sockets based on the laser-scanned data of a residual limb. Prosthetists conventionally make plaster mold of each user’s limbs, wrap that in carbon fiber or plastic, and then refine the shape leveraging their expertise. Mastering the refining process is crucial for a user’s comfort as the inner sockets have direct contact with residual limbs and bear all weight.
In Nov 2015 and Nov 2016, during multiple prosthesis findings, we received compliments from the user on the quality of the prostheses produced in the MIAMI project. “I want to go home with this,” said the user with excitement. It was an incredible honor to hear such words. At the same time, prosthetists were able to give productive feedback on the software allowing Elysium to answer that feedback with further enhancements. Through multiple iterations, we accomplished our goal to develop a solution which allows prosthetists, from beginners to experts, to design inner sockets at a near identical quality as what experienced ones could do by handcrafting.
All modifications made while using Elysium software are stored in the modeling history. This allows prosthetists to easily adjust any overcorrections reflecting the user’s feedback. The tracing of prostheses’ histories allows beginners to visualize both the feedback from users and the expert’s methods and techniques.
Inner sockets modeled by three prosthetists for the same residual limb
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