HP Will Modernize Orthotics with Biometric Scanning and 3D Printing
HP announced a strategic alliance with Go 4-D, a 3D printed medical orthotics industry visionary, to modernize the process used to create custom orthotics. As part of the alliance, Go 4-D will distribute FitStation throughout the North American medical market.
HP’s FitStation platform combines 3D foot scanning with dynamic gait analysis to enable both orthotic recommendations and 3D printed custom orthotics, prescribed from each person’s unique biomechanics. This will enable Go 4-D to manufacture comfortable, precise, and cost-effective custom orthotics using cutting-edge HP Jet Fusion 3D printing systems. The North American foot orthotic insoles market is expected to grow to more than 1.7 billion U.S. dollars by 2022, according to a Statista report.
Despite advances in technology and innovative manufacturing methods, custom orthotic manufacturing has not changed much since the 1950’s. The preferred method still in use today by the majority of North American Podiatrists, Pedorthists and Chiropodists is vacuum-forming plastic over a positive of the foot. This decades-old subjective manufacturing method, still taught in colleges, takes no dynamic measurements into the design of the device and the materials used through subtractive manufacturing limit the functional capabilities.
The FitStation platform utilizes specialized hardware and software components to capture an individual's unique 3D foot scan, dynamic gait and pressure data. This data is automatically analyzed to provide manufacturing instructions for 3D printed custom foot orthotics.
The Go 4-D leadership team has vast experience in the custom orthotic industry and understands the pitfalls of manual, subjective, error-prone manufacturing. They have eliminated these errors by combining the 3D and dynamic quantitative data from FitStation, along with the practitioner’s clinical expertise. The practitioner can now design a more precise orthotic that is 3D printed with the utmost accuracy, specificity and design features that has never been possible with traditional methods.
Precise diagnostic customization is crucial to correct fitting orthotics. With biometric scanning, the foot specialist obtains exact information about the pressure and timing of each area of the foot and an exact 3D representation of the foot. This information allows for complete customization directly into the lattice shell of each orthotic. The custom 3D printed orthotic can provide segmental and directional stiffness and incorporate various additions and modifications directly into the printed product optimizing their ability to work and reduce a patient’s discomfort.