An investigation into the validity of 3D printing as a method to produce upper limb sports prosthesis for specialised sports

Jones, B 2019, An investigation into the validity of 3D printing as a method to produce upper limb sports prosthesis for specialised sports , MSc by research thesis, University of Salford.

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Physical activity is important to keep both the mind and body healthy and can reduce the risk of diseases later in life such as type II diabetes and cardiovascular disease. It is therefore important that all individuals have the opportunity to participate in sport and physical activities. Those with limb loss benefit from these activities in the same manner as their able-bodied counterparts, however have less opportunities to participate due to lack of facilities and equipment.
The lack of equipment is more prominent in upper limb than lower limb prosthetics as recreating the many degrees of freedom of the hand is difficult. The issues that come with designing a multi-purpose hand are avoided by creating a different device for each function, especially when it comes to sport. However, there are limited devices available and these are invariably expensive.
This study examined the provision of sports devices for upper limb prosthesis users, and used 3D printing to produce a relatively inexpensive terminal device for use within a minority sport, fencing.
The study employed a mixed methods approach, combining qualitative semi-structured interviews with quantitative motion capture. In the first part, interviews were conducted with professional prosthetists, gathering opinions and experiences with the prescribing and making of sports prosthetic devices.
In the second part of the study, a specialist prosthetic device was made via 3D printing for the sport of fencing. This was then attached to a prosthetic simulator and kinetic data gathered using a Qualisys motion capture system. The motion captured was a basic fencing move, the lunge.
The interviews revealed that most sports prostheses are bespoke and made in clinic workshops. This is a long process each time as there is no standard designs and each user requires slightly different functionality. There are some commercial devices, however they come with high cost and there is little funding available as they are not considered essential items. There may be a place for 3D printing in clinics, however, the issue of safety was brought up by participants.
The 3D printed device conditions produced less compensatory movements than the left-hand condition (when the épée was held in the non-dominant hand) when compared to the gold standard (when the épée was held in the dominant hand). This is despite the rigid nature of the wrist of the device.

Item Type: Thesis (MSc by research)
Schools: Schools > School of Health and Society
Depositing User: Bronwyn Jones
Date Deposited: 18 Dec 2019 11:58
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2021 21:32

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