Title: Rapid manufacturing of medical prostheses

Authors: Jose C. Ferreira, Nuno M.F. Alves, Paulo J.S. Bartolo

Addresses: Department of Mechanical Engineering, Technical University of Lisbon, Av. Rovisco Pais, 1049-001 Lisboa, Portugal. ' Department of Mechanical Engineering, School of Technology and Management, Polytechnic Institute of Leiria, Morro do Lena, Alto do Vieiro, Apart. 4163, 2401-951 Leiria, Portugal. ' Department of Mechanical Engineering, Polytechnic Institute of Leiria, Portugal; Institute of Polymers and Composites, University of Minho, Portugal E-mail: pbartolo@estg.ipleiria.

Abstract: The fabrication of medical prostheses is a topical research area combining knowledge from distinct domains, like engineering, materials and medical fields. Recent computer assisted technologies have proved to play an important role in the medical field. In this research work, the generation of a prosthetic glove to cover a damaged hand of a patient is produced using reverse engineering, rapid prototyping and rapid tooling techniques. The geometric data obtained from reverse engineering through both computer tomography and laser scanning are used and manipulated to create accurate representations of these devices. The reverse engineering data are then used to produce STL models that are physically reproduced through rapid prototyping and tooling processes. An accurate prosthetic glove is obtained using non-toxic materials proving that the exploitation of these technologies can represent key tools to improve the quality of life.

Keywords: medical prostheses; rapid prototyping; reverse engineering; vacuum casting; medical engineering; bioengineering; rapid tooling; prosthetic glove; hand injury; computer tomography; laser scanning; quality of life; rapid manufacturing.

DOI: 10.1504/IJMTM.2004.005940

International Journal of Manufacturing Technology and Management, 2004 Vol.6 No.6, pp.567 - 583

Published online: 31 Dec 2004 *

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