Earlier this week, while jogging up a steep hill in my local park, a guy on a very fancy mountain bike slowly passed me by. As I examined his expensive helmet and colorful racing gear, my eyes fell upon the bike's foot pedal, which was being pumped by the rider's carbon fiber blade prosthetic leg. And while I'm happy to have my inferior flesh and bone legs, I must admit that I smiled at how futuristically cool this guy suddenly looked wearing something that aided a physical condition that might have been viewed with discomfort just a few years ago.
Keying in on the changing views toward advanced prosthetics, one San Francisco studio is aiming to further enhance the stylistic approach to prosthetics through the use of 3D printing. Bespoke Innovations creates next-generation Fairings, the custom panels that fit over existing prosthetic legs. Using a 3D scanner to acquire a digital representation of the person's legs in order to craft the best fit and design.
Once the scanned legs are in the computer's system, the customer then works with the company to customize the prosthetic leg from a menu of design templates and various metals. After a design has been selected, the precision-crafted Fairing is output using a 3D printer. The company sells each Fairing for anywhere between $4,000 and $6,000 depending on the complexity of the design and materials.
You can see the entire process, from scanning, to customization, to output, in the videos below, as well as a few examples of the company's work in the gallery below.