@Leebr: You raise some real valid points about the utility and appeal of these custom covers, especially as it relates to cost and insurance coverage. That's a definite market demand issue that 3D Systems/Bespoke will have to address. But in terms of looking at it through the prism of the evolution and utility of 3D printing, it's pretty cool.
While these shells are pretty neat looking, They have no connection to the fit or function of the prosthesis. 999 out of 1000 amputees whould much rather have a prosthetic covering that makes the prosthesis disappear, not stand out. Many of the amputees have also experienced a significant income reduction as a result of the amputation. (which is often accompanied by a host of other medical conditions) Many insurance companies won't even cover a prosthesis any more, let alone a cosmetic cover. Given these realities, this 3D cover has a very small number of potential customers.
I'm currently researching a slide show on the use of 3D printing in medical applications and the common theme is enabling customization. As prices come down on this technology, it is opening doors to so many new and cool applications where patients can get the comfort and high utilization of custom-fit prosthetics. Stay tuned.
It's an interesting twist on the history of prosthetics, moving from flesh-colored cloggy prosthetics to a very techy look, back to a facade. In the old days, the look was rather limited. I had an Afro-American friend in the 1970s who has a prosthetic leg that was pinkish orange, what was called flesh colored. He had one choice in color.
Customized prosthetics seems like a good idea to conform to the different anatomical structures of individuals as well as to reflect their different esthetic taste. I wonder if considering the esthetics of prosthetics might catch on.
Altair has released an update of its HyperWorks computer-aided engineering simulation suite that includes new features focusing on four key areas of product design: performance optimization, lightweight design, lead-time reduction, and new technologies.
At IMTS last week, Stratasys introduced two new multi-materials PolyJet 3D printers, plus a new UV-resistant material for its FDM production 3D printers. They can be used in making jigs and fixtures, as well as prototypes and small runs of production parts.
In a line of ultra-futuristic projects, DARPA is developing a brain microchip that will help heal the bodies and minds of soldiers. A final product is far off, but preliminary chips are already being tested.
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