3D Orthotics (3DO), a Brisbane, Australia-based company, has reached a breakthrough in orthotics after working over the past 12 months towards developing 3D printed orthotics for commercial use in podiatry.
According to 3Ders.com, podiatrists and engineers at 3DO have created a unique orthotic development process that uses the latest technology to develop custom, specially fitted orthotics. This new process incorporates the latest in 3D scanning, computer processing, and 3D printing.
“After years of seeing patients enjoy the benefits of orthotics we noticed many common problems,” a 3D Orthotics executive explained. “Most of these problems related to the inherent lack of flexibility in the orthotic development process. Often patients feel uncomfortable with their new orthotics. They never really match the foot perfectly. Using plaster casts results in too much guess work and poor fitting of orthotics.”
When it comes to orthotics, every design should be different. With the current technology of plaster casts, orthotics are not able to be designed to exactly fit an individual’s feet, but with 3D printers, podiatrists are able to create custom orthotics that actually fit.
Using 3D laser scanning, and 3D printing, podiatrists now have the ability to print 100% unique and custom orthotics, perfectly designed for each foot and need.
Wesley McCombe, founder of 3D Orthotics, adds that the process of scanning and printing is faster and more accurate than before. “We can scan a patient’s foot within 5 seconds. We process the scan, design the orthotic to a prescription in approximately 5 minutes and make it ready for print.” This means no more waiting and subsequent adjustments to get the fit right.
3D printed orthotics also opens the doors for fashion when it comes to those who require orthotics. With the ability to print custom orthotics, patients are now able to choose their shoes first and orthotics later, rather than the other way around, while still receiving the full range of support, comfort, and health benefits that custom fit orthotics provide.