Krakow: A prosthetic foot dedicated to climbing walls is being created at AGH

AGH students in Krakow develop a prosthetic foot for climbing walls. The solution is to respond to the needs of college student Camille Warsho, who uses a prosthetic limb after amputation, but does not allow him to play his favorite sport.

An opportunity for an innovative prosthetic limb

As the university announced on Thursday, May 26, thanks to the use of 3D scanning and 3D printing, the results of the project may turn into an innovative solution for prosthetics and speed up processes related to the production of prosthetics, thereby improving the quality of life for people with disabilities.

The task to develop a custom foot prosthesis was undertaken by the Student Research Club at the AGH University of Science and Technology for Rapid Prototyping, which is in the School of Mechanical Engineering and Robotics, and deals with design and prototyping. For the whole of Warsaw, the design of the character’s foot is also the subject of his engineering thesis.

Some sports can be played using daily prosthetics. However, there are some specialties where standard dentures do not work. I really wanted to be able to climb walls. I referred this case to my colleagues from the university. I hope that with their help I can climb for which an ordinary prosthesis is not enough – said Kamel Warchu.

As he pointed out, leg prosthetics have evolved a lot over the years. The quality of life of amputees is improved thanks to the right materials and advanced electronic systems.

How is a climbing prosthetic foot made?

First of all, students will check the advantages and disadvantages of the selected materials that can be used when creating a foot prosthesis. As part of the work, students will also perform an analysis of the deformation field distribution and locate the largest deformities of a non-disabled foot and a prosthetic foot while working on a climbing wall. The result of their work will be a model of a prosthetic foot made on the basis of 3D printing technology. The conclusions of the project will be useful to designers and creators of the assortment of personal prosthetics. The long-term goal of the project is to create a prosthetic foot with better mechanical standards and a simplified way of wearing and producing it.

One of the first tasks that will be undertaken by the Student Research Club, which mainly brings together students of biomedical engineering and mechatronics, will be the study of the mechanical parameters of materials intended to create a functional prototype of the foot.

– As a result of the research conducted, we would like to get answers on which of the tested materials achieve the most satisfactory mechanical parameters and whether they meet the specific requirements for materials used in prosthetics – said project leader Anna Kubio.

Then, to recreate the final solution model, students will use a 3D scanner. The use of this technology will allow to capture the complex geometry of the foot prosthesis necessary for climbing the wall. The scanner will also save a significant amount of time that would have to be spent on designing the prosthesis from scratch. Given the special circumstances of the use of the prosthesis intended for this sport, it is necessary to adjust it individually.

The next stage of the project will be the printing of the scanned prosthesis. At least three materials will be used for this.

– We will select printing materials based on different price criteria to increase the availability of prosthetics to as many people as possible. We want to use materials that are relatively low cost and, however, have satisfactory mechanical properties. We will also test more expensive and more demanding materials that are now being used successfully as an alternative to metal parts, such as fiberglass-reinforced nylon, the project leader explained.

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