LIMBFORGE

CASE STUDY #1

ui // ux // industrial design

hobe12 // work // LimbForge

BACKGROUND

LimbForge is software for configuring and manufacturing 3D printed prosthetics. It enables clinicians to spend less time customizing devices, lowers materials and equipment operation costs, simplifies supply chains, and delivers ultra lightweight, culturally-contextual prostheses to populations who need them most. Once a prosthetic design is in LimbForge, it can be configured to fit nearly any human anatomy on Earth.  

 

As lead designer, I conceived and implemented all UX and UI features for the software, led product research and managed relationships with contributing partners.

PROBLEM

Globally, around 35 million people live with limb-loss. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that only 5% have access to prosthetic care. Compounding this, there is a global shortage of trained prosthetists. 

SOLUTION

A software tool that lets prosthetists rapidly and easily configure upper-limb prosthetics for 3D printing- each device is customized for the patient.

METHODOLOGY

3D models of upper-limb prosthetics were designed in Fusion 360, Autodesk CAD software that allows for parametric geometry.  Using a plugin script, 3D printable files (STL's) for every parametric variation were exported and loaded onto AWS.

 

Using a web-based platform, users enter specific measurements of a patient's intact limb. The software mines AWS for the best size matches and loads the file to the web-app for 3D printing.

3D models of hands (terminal devices) which are sized for different anatomies.

PROOF OF CONCEPT

The POC demonstrated how a user will be able to see real-time modifications to a CAD model in the web-app.

An early version of LimbForge that illustrates the most basic functionality (selecting for a left or right side amputation).

RESEARCH

We consulted with patients, local clinicians, professional prosthetists, global health experts and software specialists.

  • Insight: In the developing world, people do not have access to advanced technology

  • Action: Create a software system that the patient navigates with the clinician.  

  • Insight: Literacy varies. 

  • Action: Make software visually based.

 

  • Insight: Instant feed back is critical to demonstrating (to patient and clinician) how the technology works.

  • Action: Stop using AWS and replace with live web-based modeling (Autodesk open API).

ARCHITECTURE (UX)

Prosthetics design is complicated.  Essentially, a prosthetic is the most personal object a limb-loss patient interacts with.  As such, creating a system for organizing each component based on use case, manufacturability and aesthetics was critical to the success of LimbForge.  

Tools used: Adobe Creative Suite, Sketch, GitHub, Fusion 360

WORKFLOW (UI)

I wanted to establish a concise workflow that makes sense to both professional prosthetists and other medical clinicians.

BETA

I wanted to establish a concise workflow that makes sense to both professional prosthetists and other medical clinicians.  Using best practices from our clinical advisors, the software is set up so it will make sense to prosthetists with little technology experience, and those who have more familiarity with software, but not prosthetics.

MVP

Working with Autodesk, we created a version of LimbForge that utilizes API's that allow for realtime CAD editing and 3D visualization.  With these capabilities, we were able to stop using AWS, which caused lags and limited one's ability to fully customize each device.

IMPACT

LimbForge is used around the world by prosthetists, clinicians and NGO's.  Hundreds of limb-loss patients in Haiti, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria have ben outfitted with LimbForge prosthetics.