LAKE PLACID, NY – With its next-generation 3D printing software, Create will offer a new intuitive platform that uses virtual reality to let any clinician quickly design a prosthesis, 3D print and test fit the custom parts in less than 3 hours.
3D printing has tremendous potential to improve prosthetic care around the world. The problem is that prosthetists are accustomed to working with their hands on plaster models, and not working on a computer with digital models. The key to unlock this potential is to make this transition to digital as intuitive as possible by helping practitioners apply their clinical skills in this new format.
Imagine this scenario: A clinician scans a patient and uploads the scan to a smartphone. He/she then puts on a headset and modifies a digital plaster mold in a virtual world by hand, just like he/she normally would with plaster. Then, the clinician designs a test socket around the digital mold and sends it to a 3D printer to fabricate in under three hours. This software utilizes the same tools that clinicians are already comfortable using, except there is no mess, no waste, and a much more efficient workflow. This is all possible using just a smartphone and a VR headset.
Create Orthotics & Prosthetics is hard at work making intuitive solutions that allow practitioners to adopt new digital tools without a major paradigm shift in current patient care practices. One way they are doing this is by developing prosthetic software that works in virtual reality (VR) as well as on a computer or tablet.
“We see that tools such as VR are a great way to empower practitioners to use their existing skills and techniques in a new digital platform,” says Create founder and CEO Jeff Erenstone, CPO (Certified Prosthetist-Orthotist).
The idea for using VR to comfortably modify digital plaster models first came from a request by an orthopedic children’s hospital in Nepal, HRDC, dedicated to giving children with orthopedic conditions high-quality care. Practitioners in Nepal, like many places in the developing world, face limited access to the necessary tools, manpower and equipment for designing custom devices. At the same time, demand is at an all-time high. By utilizing a VR headset such as Google Daydream, plus a mobile phone, a practitioner can modify a socket, using hands-on clinical skills, and without needing any other equipment.
“In the developing world, we want to subsidize this software, making it freely available to allow clinicians to access this vital technology,” says Erenstone. “Our goal is to improve prosthetic care, no matter where a person lives in the world.”
This software technology is not only helpful for the developing world. Demand for orthotic and prosthetic devices is also on the rise in the United States. A more efficient and effective workflow, like this one, will allow clinicians to see more patients in a day and deliver more devices. This increases clinic profitability and improves patient care, while at the same time creating a comfortable transition to digital manufacturing. When Create’s software solution is used in conjunction with its 3D printers, clinicians can scan a patient, design a digital check socket, print the device, and fit the patient, all within the same day. Create’s 3D printers were designed and manufactured in partnership with American 3D printer manufacturer Printrbot.
“We are proud to partner with Printrbot in designing an O&P-specific 3D printer,” explains Erenstone. “Their hardware expertise, combined with our software, education, and support, really helps us to provide a complete package to O&P clinics everywhere.”
Watch the VR modification software in action: