• 2020

  • Product
    Medical and Scientific

Designed By:

  • Design + Industry

Commissioned By:


Designed In:


Custom-made orthoses are devices used to improve walking, reduce pain, or prevent deformities. Traditionally custom-made by Orthotists through laborious & hazardous manual processes. AbilityMade’s 3D scanning & digital fabrication platform removes the need for plaster-casting, creates better experiences for children, more time for orthotists, and increases design freedom & innovation within the profession.

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  • Ankle-foot-orthoses (AFOs) are traditionally fabricated manually, which is invasive, laborious and hazardous. The manual process requires plaster-casting. This takes up-to 25 minutes per limb, often without the child understanding the situation. Some children have sensory or cognitive disabilities, and the psychological impact can be traumatic for both children and parents. AbilityMade’s design challenge was to eliminate the need for plaster-casting, improve patient satisfaction and increase clinician productivity by inventing a cutting-edge 3D scanning technology to take a capture in less than 1 second. To achieve this, we had to apply the principles of human-centred-design while maintaining clinical efficacy and affordability.

  • AbilityMade's instantaneous scanner is a world first! It not only removes the need for plaster-casting but delivers positive experiences for children, efficiency for orthotists, and unprecedented levels of design freedom. We have exceeded the brief by inventing a solution that achieves high standards of automation and accuracy and which can be operated with little to no experience! The end solution was achieved by working closely with children, their families and clinicians. We placed the child’s needs and experiences at the centre of every decision and made small incremental iterations by using rapid prototyping.

  • Social: For children, AFOs aid to reach critical developmental milestones. On-time provision can be the difference between walking and not walking! AbilityMade’s AFOs have a significant positive impact on patient independence and reduce the need for other formal support services. Our Clinical Study (2017) found 3D printed AFOs perform equally effective as traditionally-made devices but have superior psychological impact on children + parents. Economic: 2018 survey validated traditional fabrication takes ~ 276 minutes and $460 labour cost per AFO. AbilityMade’s solution is ~121.5 minutes, saving $258 labour. More people receiving devices they critically need reduces burden on health care system.

  • • WHO (2015) estimates 100 million people world-wide need orthoses or prostheses, with only 1/10 accessing them. • Orthoses are conventionally fabricated through laborious + hazardous manual processes. • Orthotists have the highest compensation claims amongst allied health professions - 17x higher than average (Anderson et al., 2017). • According to the Australian Orthotics and Prosthetics Association (AOPA), Australia only has 35% of the orthotists needed to meet the country's demand (AOPA, 2012). • A child with cerebral palsy is born every 15 minutes in Australia. A majority of children with CP will need custom-made orthoses in their lifetime. • Scanner is operated through a purpose-built cloud-based app, allowing orthotists to digitally scan and place an order for a 3D printed orthosis. • User experience is strikingly simple and intuitive, designed in close collaboration with children, their parents, and clinicians. • Automated control button to raise and lower the seat, making it accessible to all patients from paediatrics to adults. • Digital fabrication offers the possibility to reach remote and regional areas where there is a real need for an orthotists services. 3D scanning can bridge the geographic barriers to accessing critical medical care. • Custom-made orthoses are classified as assistive technology and are paid for by the NDIS. • Hands-free operation. An automatic countdown timer occurs, counting down the seconds before a capture. This feature allows the user to use both their hands for holding a patient’s limb in the ideal, aligned position while a scan takes place.