Prosthetic technology for the developing world.

Role: Product Design Lead

 

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.  

LimbForge's software uses cloud computing to generate anatomically correct prosthetic limbs for amputees. The prosthetic devices are designed parametrically in Fusion 360 to make them highly customizable to fit any body.  With Autodesk's Forge Platform, LimbForge is able to employ Autodesk API's to populate the software with the CAD data instantly, anywhere in the world.

 

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

Background

The world’s poorest are more likely to become disabled, and they have the worst access to treatment.  The world’s disabled are too often sidelined from society and unable to work, falling into poverty.  This truly is a viscous cycle. 

One of the most apparent physical disabilities that plague too many people around the world is limb-loss.  The World Health Organization says 100 million people need prosthetic rehabilitation, but only 5-10% get any sort of care.  80% affected live in the developing world where limb-loss is frequently caused by natural disasters, war/conflict, unsafe working conditions and lack of health-care.

A mobile prosthetics toolbox

In disaster-struck areas, access to prosthetic care is especially difficult. From virtually anywhere, LimbForge allows minimally-trained clinicians to produce prosthetic devices for patients with a laptop/tablet, a FDM 3D printer and a simple rotary tool.  The workflow is is simple and repeatable, while still yielding individualized devices for each patient.

Software Integrations

LimbForge integrates different 3D technologies into a single platform.  Mesh editing software is used to convert 3D scanner files into solid files for traditional CAD editing. That way, when a patient's residual limb is scanned, clinicians can use the LimbForge workflow to create a perfectly fitting socket that can be supplemented by LimbForge components.

Parametric CAD technology, the core of LimbForge allows clinicians to simply measure a patient's intact limb and enter those measurements into LimbForge to create a prosthetic unique to each patient.

Slicing technology optimizes each prosthetic for 3D printing, ensuring that each device is lightweight and well-constructed for rigorous use. 

Architecture

LimbForge uses parametric modeling to create 'anatomically correct' devices for every patient.  Each device contains numerous components (upper-arm, forearm, hand, etc...), each with multiple variables that can be customized.  

 

A fundamental challenge in the software design process was creating a workflow and interface that simplifies this complicated process, allowing clinicians not familiar with CAD/3D printing to master the software and thus produce a prosthetic.

Interface

LimbForge's interface serves the purpose of making complicated technology accessible to an international audience with varying backgrounds in CAD, prosthetics and 3D printing.  The interface is therefore visually-based with minimum text.  It also serves the purpose of introducing traditional CAD tools so these can acclimate him/herself to more advanced technologies.

Outcomes

LimbForge is used around the world by individuals and organizations that provide prosthetic care to patients in places plagued with human and natural disasters.  More advanced devices added to LimbForge give patients more capabilities and better tools for regaining their 'greater perceived loss.'

KEYNOTE // AUTODESK FORGE DEVCON 2017