3D Printing Prostheses for Amputees
Watch how Livity Technologies uses rapid prototyping with Lulzbot 3D printers to bring carbon fiber prosthetic limbs to amputees in Jamaica.
September 11, 2019
When amputees in Jamaica were unable to obtain prostheses because of insufficient funding and materials, Livity Technologies CTO Patrice Johnson rose to the challenge. Specializing in prosthetics and exoskeletal orthoses, Livity Technologies is using LulzBot TAZ Workhorse 3D Printers to print prosthetic feet.
With a demand to produce the prostheses locally, Johnson collected feedback from amputees—Jamaicans from all walks of life who would not be slowed down.
“They wanted to be able to walk up hillsides, they wanted to walk on uneven terrain in environments like a riverbed, they wanted to be able to go to the beach with it, and they wanted to be able to, at times, run,” says Johnson.
The LulzBot TAZ Workhorse soon became a useful tool for Johnson, who recognized its ability to produce not only prototypes in polylactic acid, but beta and final prostheses in high-strength carbon fiber nylons and flexible thermoplastic polyurethane filaments.
“We have all of this capability in one machine that fits on the desk in my lab,” Johnson says, also adding that he enjoyed being able to print entirely new designs in just a few days.
Though many of the amputees were familiar with the concept of additive manufacturing, wearing a functional 3D printed device created a “sense of excitement, like living in the future,” Johnson describes. “I appreciate seeing that spark in somebody’s eye.”
Sources: Press materials received from the company and additional information gleaned from the company’s website.