BY Alec | 3ders.org
That 3D printing technology offers us a wonderful tool for developing customized and functional prosthetics, doesn’t need to be repeated. We’ve seen dozens and dozens of affordable and functional custom-made 3D printed prosthetics over the last few years, offering people everywhere an easy alternative to the absolutely unaffordable medical prosthetics. At the same time, 3D printers are also an innovative and exciting tool for artistic creation. So why not combine these two innovating applications to make 3D printed prosthetics that serve an artistic function as well?
That is exactly what the Columbian designers from Cocreat3D are working on. While by day a typical 3D printing service provider, this new project is taking them on a fantastic artistic road from which there is no turning back. And as you might have noticed from the photos above and below, the prostheses from their Passive Prosthesis project are unlike what you expect to see in a typical E-NABLE creation. While most of those 3D printed prosthetics are functional, featuring a simple mechanical grip good enough to pick up lightweight objects, Cocreat3D’s CEO Esteban Velásquez Rendón and his team don’t like the associations behind them. It suggests that those people – who might have lived perfectly happily with just one hand for years – are missing something. That they’re not complete as the human beings they are.
That’s a very interesting way of looking at prosthetics, because it turns the nature of prosthetics upside down. Do you wear one because you need a basic plastic grip to be complete, or because you want one? For why can’t a prosthetic be a fashionable, rather than a functional, accessory? That is exactly why the gorgeous designs from Cocreat3D don’t feature a mechanical grip – because they argue that that’s not the most important function of a prosthetic. ‘We present a series of 3D printable passive prosthesis designed for upper limb amputees. We aim to make uncommon prosthesis that are not meant to be hidden but to be shown without shame,’ Esteban Velásquez Rendón explains. They want prosthetics to be empowering.
The designs for these empowering 3D printable prosthetics are still, however, largely, in the prototyping and design process. While Cocreat3D has already 3D printed the ‘Galactic’ model you can see below as a scaled down version in PLA (using an Ultimaker 2), the rest only exist as a digital rendering for now. Over the coming months, however, Cocreat3D will be working to customly 3D print them for customers, during which they’ll use 3D scanning and modelling technology to ensure a perfect fit. They are also planning to provide them in any color and material the user prefers, including metallics, wood and even neon colors. Now that would be a fashion statement.
While the question of what a prosthetic does and what it should look like needs to be answered by the individuals it applies to, 3D printing at least enables them to answer that question. And with these gorgeous designs from Columbia, that question might be more difficult to answer than ever.
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