Designing 3D Prosthetic Legs in Virtual Space with OrthoVR
For some of us in this world, they are not so lucky for not having a leg or both legs. It can be due to various reasons such as accident, amputation due to critical sickness, war or due to birth defect. It’s hard to imagine life without the legs. Imagine if they need to wait for a very, very long time to get their artificial body parts or also known as prosthetic legs to make life easier for them. Wait no longer anymore….
How to Create 3D Prosthetic Legs in VR?
The are big difference between using the conventional way and the digital way. In the conventional way, clinicians use the manual process which is quite lengthy such as to do plaster casting, sanding and shaping of the prostheses.
In order to speed up the manufacturing process, the digital scanning and design tools together with 3D printing approach is used. Although the manufacturing part become much faster due to 3D printing technology, but the design part is still a complex task to the clinicians. Normal CAD software is a big challenge for them when they want to do the digital modeling . They are better at using their hands than the mouse when shaping their masterpiece.
That’s where “The OrthoVR Project” is coming. The new technique introduced by OrthoVR is the combination of virtual reality, 3D modelling and the 3D printing. The main purpose is to develop a tool which can be used to design 3D prosthetic legs in virtual environment. It is a Unity-based solution and use frame3Sharp application framework from gradientspace.
The high skill required during the modelling part is the sculpting technique on the 3D model. To do this, the clinicians will use the Vive controllers that act like their natural hands to shape, examine and refine their “art” in the virtual space. Once the design is finalized, it can be sent straight away to the 3D printer. Cool, isn’t it? Hope with OrthoVR platform, it can expedite the prototype design of the prosthetics.
Who are the guys behind this initiative? Well, they are the hard working researchers, designers and developers from Critical Making Lab from University of Toronto, CBM Canada, gradientspace and Nia Technologies. Give them a round of applause!
How about the funding? Well, thank you to VR For Impact, this good effort has got people attention especially those from HTC Vive where they provide the funding and equipment for this project. Next, they will do the clinical trials at Nia clinic in Tanzania.
For those involve in the prosthetics business, it is about time to explore this alternative to produce the artificial limbs. The only challenge is that, since the project is still new and under active development, we cannot measure yet how successful and effective is the VR approach to design the artificial limbs. Wish them all the best in their journey.