For people with disabilities, although it is now possible to print out their own prostheses from models found in open source databases, these models are generally very expensive. But recently , researchers at Virginia Tech have solved this problem with their newly invented prosthesis with integrated electronic sensors that evaluate the pressure distribution between the prosthesis and the prosthesis. This new development may bring cheaper electric prostheses in the future.
To develop their new prosthetics, the researchers used 3D scan data from the limbs to integrate the sensors between the tissue and the device. They use 3D printing technology to print the device, which deposits material on the surface.
By integrating electronic sensors at the intersection of the prosthetic and wearer's tissue, researchers can collect information about prosthetic function and comfort, such as pressure between the wearer's tissue, which can help improve the shortcomings of such prostheses.
Their research will be further applied to the design of personalized medicine and wearable systems. In other words, 3D printing technology may play a crucial role in the future medical field.