Prosthetics design

Low cost prosthetic limbs

A prosthesis is an artificial limb (an artificial substitute) that replaces a missing leg or arm due to disease, accidents, or congenital defects. Main types of artificial limbs:
◦ Transtibial prosthesis
◦ Transfemoral prosthesis
◦ Transradial prosthesis
◦ Transhumeral prosthesis

Prosthesis designs

  • functional
  • special purpose
  • performance
  • design projects – choices about the role of the prosthetic. Why does it have to look like a hand at all? I wanted mine to be beautiful, but in a way that wasn’t trying to blend too hard.

Soldier with Prosthetic Limb at the Personnel Recovery Centre in Edinburgh MOD


News, updates

  • Watts middle school students build prosthetic – win national engineering design competition.
  • Fulfilling a 6-Year-Old’s Dream: UCF Students Design and Build Him an Arm – Thanks to University of Central Florida engineering doctoral student Albert Manero, climbing a tree and catching a ball will get a lot easier for Alex. Manero heard about the Groveland boy’s need and pulled together a team of his friends. In their free time they designed an arm for Alex. It was made on a 3-D printer and runs with off-the-shelf servos and batteries that are activated by the electromyography muscle energy on Alex’s bicep.

What’s the problem?
Water dancing (video 27:40) – design and build prosthetics that will propel a swimmer through the water. This is based on an episode of the Design Squad TV program. The swimmer is Lisa Bufano, a dancer and artist who’s also a leg and finger amputee.

  • Ask – How might we create a prosethesis that is both beautiful and functional for Lisa’s water dancing? How does Lisa’s amputation factor into the design? What can Lisa do that will help her use a prosthetic for her swimming performance?
  • Imagine – What are some beautiful swimming animals fins that can be adapted fro Lisa’s prosthesis?
  • Design, Build – Using sea creatures for inspiration, the Purple Team’s design has umbrellas to look like a jellyfish. Green Team makes prosthetics with flippers and swirling fabric that look like a spiny lion fish.
  • Improve – The two teams can up with workable solutions. How could these be combined to make a better prosthesis?

That’s engineering

  • prosthesis – an artificial replacement for a missing body part
  • rapid prototyping – a group of techniques used to quickly fabricate a scale model of a physical part or assembly using three-dimensional computer aided design (CAD) data.
  • fabricate – to make by art or skill and labor; construct, to make by assembling parts or sections. to devise or invent.
  • stiffness – rigidity or a measure of rigidity, inflexibility or a measure of inflexibility