prosthetic 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

Engineering ideas

  • mobility, fabricate, rapid prototyping, stiffness, torque, adapter, propulsive forces, vibration, locomotive, stability, biomechanics, sensors, algorithms, assistive powered devices, flexible sensing array, torsional characteristics, servos, electromyography

Do It
Challenges for you to work on…

  • given the same challenge, design and build prosthetics for swimming that are functional and beautiful to watch in action.
  • Prosthetic Arm Challenge – design and build a prosthetic arm that meets the requirements for the challenge.

Learn more…