We've told you about a global community effort to provide 3D-printed prosthetic hands for kids in need. Another project is using 3D printing to provide orthotics -- equipment like back braces and other joint- and limb-supporting devices -- to disabled children.
Called Andiamo, the project and company of the same name aim to dramatically reduce the time and cost of orthotic equipment for children, according to the project's Indiegogo page, where it has raised over GB pound 60,000 (about $96,000).
Issues with orthotic equipment for children are similar to issues found with prosthetics: Because of the time it takes to develop the custom equipment -- as much as 28 weeks -- children often grow out of what's been designed and built for them before they can actually wear it.
Andiamo founders Naveed and Samiya Parez were inspired to form the company because of their own personal experience with their disabled son, Diamo. He was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and was also a quadriplegic who needed numerous braces and other orthotics to maintain good posture and more comfort. However, because of his disabilities, the process of measuring him was uncomfortable and painful, and by the time his brace was created, he could no longer wear it.
Diamo died in 2012, but the next year his father attended a conference where he witnessed the possibilities of 3D technology for scanning and creating custom devices, and the idea for Andiamo was born.
Andiamo aims to use 3D scanning to digitally measure and fit a child for orthotic equipment. Then the data is uploaded to a 3D printer or printing company, which manufactures the equipment in a maximum of two days, according to Andiamo's founders.
Andiamo plans to use the money raised via the Indiegog campaign to create a prototype service for 12 months with families with disabled children to create a blueprint for 3D printing and scanning orthotics. Families will receive the service for free.
Once the service is streamlined and optimized, the company will begin offering it for a fee to customers through a clinic, something the Parez's hope will open by 2015.
A video tells the story of the Parez family and how the Andiamo process for developing orthotics works: