Reuters - Video

EDITION: U.S. | U.K. | IN

Technology

3D-printed prosthetics offer amputees new lease on life

Monday, February 27, 2012 - 03:28

Feb. 27 - 3D printing is revolutionizing the field of prosthetics. San Francisco company Bespoke Innovations is printing designer prosthetics specifically to restore symmetry to the bodies of amputees, while making a fashion statement at the same time. Ben Gruber reports.

▲ Hide Transcript

View Transcript

Dennis Weikel is having the lower half of his body scanned and digitised. It's the first step towards getting a new type of cover for his prosthetic leg. He hopes it will finally allow him to stop hiding the fact that he is an amputee. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DENNIS WEIKEL, AMPUTEE AND BESPOKE CLIENT, SAYING: "I usually would just wear a pair of pants and cover the whole thing, just kind of leave the questions out of it, I don't actually want to talk about it. Just kind of leave it off the table and, I guess, the word I would want to use is hide, just hiding that aspect of you." But now, with new options presented by San Francisco company Bespoke Innovations, Dennis is bringing his disability out of hiding. Bespoke specialises in 3D printed prosthetic fairings that fit over a traditional prosthetic. Bespoke founder Scott Summit says that every person is physically unique. By scanning an amputees' surviving limb, they are able to make a matching prosthetic copy thereby re-creating the body's natural symmetry. Summit says this turns the traditional design process upside down - giving amputees a prosthetic that is fabricated specifically for them. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SCOTT SUMMIT, FOUNDER, BESPOKE INNOVATIONS, SAYING: "We actually involve the person from the first moment, by creating a three dimensional scan from them, we have their body in our computer. And then we really ping them for their aesthetic choices, you know, what's their taste preference, because that is going to be every bit as important as their shape is what they want to represent themselves, what they want as a part of their body." Summit says the idea came to him when he saw how modern 3D printing technologies are revolutionising the way products are designed and engineered. (SOUNDBITE) (English) SCOTT SUMMIT, FOUNDER, BESPOKE INNOVATIONS, SAYING: "What 3D printing allows is it lets you think in very different terms. Instead of assembling parts to make a final thing, you can print that entire thing in one shot. Not only that, but it is very specific to the person and of all products that should be specific to the person, perhaps a prosthetic leg is the highest priority there." After the scan is completed, it is sent over to 3D Systems, a 3D printing company in South Carolina. Here the scan is fed into the printer where high powered lasers turn a bed of composite plastic powder into the fairing. Chad Crittenden lost his leg to cancer. He was one of the first people to receive a Bespoke fairing. (SOUNDBITE) (English) CHAD CRITTENDEN, AMPUTEE AND FAIRING WEARER, SAYING: "I started to feel almost naked without it. And I realised, my gosh, I feel like something is really missing when I don't have that. And it is true, it's like your calf is there with it on because you look down and it is just the perfect shape. And I think subconiously you are recognising that your calf is there. It's really neat." Dennis Weikel hopes his new fairing will not only change the way the world sees him, but restore the sense of wholeness he says he lost 35 years ago in a motorcycle accident. (SOUNDBITE) (English) DENNIS WEIKEL, AMPUTEE AND POTENTIAL BESPOKE CLIENT, SAYING: "It doesn't look like a prosthetic leg anymore. It actually looks like a piece of art work." Scott Summit says prosthetic fairings are just the beginning. He believes in the future printing artificial limbs will be replaced with the printing of organic tissue to remake biological limbs. He says that if a lizard can grow a new tail, humans should be able to print new legs. Ben Gruber, Reuters.

Press CTRL+C (Windows), CMD+C (Mac), or long-press the URL below on your mobile device to copy the code

3D-printed prosthetics offer amputees new lease on life

Monday, February 27, 2012 - 03:28

Top News »

Retirement »

Back to work- in retirement Back to work- in retirement

Wed, Oct 15, 2014 - (2:09)

Investing 201 »

Bond investors brace for the end of Fed stimulus Bond investors brace for the end of Fed...

Fri, Oct 10, 2014 - (4:03)

Arian Foster = BlackBerry? Arian Foster = BlackBerry?

Fri, Oct 25, 2013 - (3:16)

Don’t miss these red flags for IPOs Don’t miss these red flags for IPOs

Thu, Oct 10, 2013 - (2:34)

Copycat currency trading Copycat currency trading

Wed, Oct 02, 2013 - (2:28)

When to dump a winner When to dump a winner

Tue, Sep 24, 2013 - (1:55)

Where gold might again attract Jim Rogers Where gold might again attract Jim Rogers

Thu, Sep 19, 2013 - (2:05)

Why savings interest rates won't budge Why savings interest rates won't budge

Fri, Sep 13, 2013 - (2:09)

Buy local? ETFs try the trend Buy local? ETFs try the trend

Thu, Sep 05, 2013 - (2:42)

Money Clip »

Will Apple Pay transform mobile payments? Will Apple Pay transform mobile payments?

Thu, Oct 16, 2014 - (2:45)

3 things to do before disaster strikes 3 things to do before disaster strikes

Wed, Sep 18, 2013 - (1:39)

Your must-do money list Your must-do money list

Wed, Sep 11, 2013 - (1:24)

The worst "best" financial advice The worst "best" financial advice

Wed, Sep 04, 2013 - (1:42)

Forget gold: The case for REITs Forget gold: The case for REITs

Fri, Apr 26, 2013 - (1:19)

3 rules for buying a house now 3 rules for buying a house now

Thu, Apr 18, 2013 - (1:39)

Reuters Investigates »

Re-homing victim: "I could have been dead" Re-homing victim: "I could have been dead"

Wed, Feb 19, 2014 - (8:24)

Cops and loggers in the Amazon rainforest Cops and loggers in the Amazon rainforest

Fri, Jan 10, 2014 - (4:01)

"Passed around like a dog" "Passed around like a dog"

Thu, Aug 29, 2013 - (6:32)

Adopted, then abandoned online Adopted, then abandoned online

Thu, Aug 29, 2013 - (13:21)

How the DEA keeps its secrets secret How the DEA keeps its secrets secret

Mon, Aug 05, 2013 - (1:36)

How education lost its role as the great equalizer - Reuters Investigates How education lost its role as the great...

Mon, Dec 17, 2012 - (7:52)

Jihad Jane: From abused child to American jihadist - Reuters Investigates Jihad Jane: From abused child to American...

Sat, Dec 08, 2012 - (10:01)

Jihad Jane: The order to kill - Reuters Investigates Jihad Jane: The order to kill - Reuters...

Sun, Dec 09, 2012 - (10:39)

Moving Pictures »

Dance of the northern lights Dance of the northern lights

Mon, Oct 20, 2014 - (1:08)

Images of September Images of September

Wed, Oct 01, 2014 - (1:00)

Still missing – MH370 Still missing – MH370

Fri, Sep 05, 2014 - (2:05)

Burning Together Burning Together

Mon, Sep 01, 2014 - (2:23)

Mending dolls, teddies and hearts Mending dolls, teddies and hearts

Fri, Aug 22, 2014 - (3:12)

Images of August Images of August

Fri, Aug 29, 2014 - (1:00)

"Old timers" sail the Chesapeake Bay "Old timers" sail the Chesapeake Bay

Mon, Aug 11, 2014 - (2:27)

Burned memories Burned memories

Fri, Aug 08, 2014 - (3:02)

Images of July Images of July

Thu, Jul 31, 2014 - (1:20)

World Cup: passion on the pitch World Cup: passion on the pitch

Fri, Jul 11, 2014 - (1:00)