Losing a limb is one of the most traumatic experiences a person can go through. Unfortunately, the reality of the aftershock can be even worse. As amputees are forced to deal with both the psychological and the physical reality of their situations, it creates stress, depression and anger. San Francisco-based company Bespoke Innovations has developed an unusual solution aimed at helping amputees erase the awkwardness that comes with wearing prosthetic limbs.
They design "Fairings"; 3D printed covers for existing prosthetic limbs. Patients can choose from a variety of materials for their Fairings including chrome, leather or ballistic nylon fabric. Once designed, Fairings can be personalized even further with the use of graphics, patterns and tattoos. Bespoke begins the process of building a Fairing by taking a three-dimensional scan of the sound areas of the body, as well as the prosthetic limb. Then they work with the patient to design a cover that they find attractive. Once the design process is complete, a 3D printer builds the Fairing from the chosen materials.
The printer Bespoke uses was made by 3D Systems and it employs Selective Laser Sintering (SLS) technology. SLS uses a high powered laser to fuse small particles into a 3D shape, one layer at a time.
Fairings are constructed with front and back components, allowing the wearer to mix and match, changing the appearance to suit their outfit. Each one weighs between a half a pound and a pound, depending on the material chosen for the build.
"Our products are shaped by human needs and enhanced by individuality," says Bespoke founder Scott Summit. "We developed Fairings to provide leg amputees with a unique way to recreate their body, and also, to showcase their individuality and style. They have a way of turning something ordinary and mechanical into something amazing."