The processes of generating new products have evolved as there has been a rapid growth due to the consumers’ demand for better quality products, lower prices, and shorter lead
The approach for designing a product is not focused on its
creative and aesthetic elements, but on its functional purpose to
respond to users’ needs and meet standards, rules, and regulations. To meet them, projects in the area of prosthetics should
have a social concern in order to improve quality of life of the
amputee. It needs to integrate osteology, arthrology, myology,
engineering, ergonomics, sustainability, appropriate materials,
and sustainable technologies, or other areas, from the earliest
stages of design.
This approach led to changes in the methodologies applied
by the different people involved in the development of projects,
which designers cannot ignore for improving prosthetic devices.
Despite progress, prosthetics prices are still thousands of
euros, making them unaffordable.
Yet, multidisciplinary teams, and manufacturing technologies,
makes it possible to produce low cost prostheses with adequate
quality. The development of new materials, 3D scanning, the
dropping of patents, the availability of free software, and STL
files on the web, allow the global community to easily generate
the STL files needed to print the components to build these
prostheses anywhere in the globe.
Why do Prosthetics Cost
an Arm and a Leg?
(And What Can We do About it?)
Prosthetic devices are known to be costly, but it’s important for high quality
components to be used so that the device may function properly. We reached
out to a few experts to find out if there’s a way to create quality devices while
keeping the cost low.
MDT: How are recent developments in materials,
components, and fabrication technologies helping
designers improve the functionality and performance of
prosthetic devices? Are any of these developments
helping to make prosthetics more affordable?
Jorge Lino - Faculty
University of Porto,
Teresa Duarte - Assistant
Professor, Faculty of
University of Porto