3D printed Elle prosthetic leg for swimmers comes as a boon
When we talk of 3D printing and prosthetics, it has been prosthetic limbs like arms and legs that have dominated the scene. Now there is a prosthetic swimming leg for amputees that allows them to swim again. Developed by Della Tosin, LA-based product designer with degree from the Art Center College, the prosthetic swimming leg dubbed as Elle provides balance, strength and practicality. Along with the prosthetic, it comes with a wearable suit that assists single-leg amputees in competing with regular swimmers. Apparently Elle is also competing in the James Dyson Foundation 2014 innovation competition.
Elle prosthetic leg is multi-functional and can be used by people of any weight, size and disability in the leg. This prosthetic is designed in such a way that it reduces the buoyancy exerted by upward water pressure and allows for longer sessions while swimming. Elle is made from 3D printing using elastene-nylon and polyurethane material that help in increasing the buoyancy. To make the prosthetic leg strong it is laid with water-proof carbon fiber composite material.
This prosthetic has been developed by working with three different people: Kenneth a swimming instructor, Rose a single-leg swimmer and Vardan a prosthesis expert. After collecting all the information the final design was done and it was kept in mind that the prosthetic leg had to function like a normal leg would do. For this she incorporated adjustable air chamber for control of buoyancy and position in water. The prosthetic leg also has a special mechanism that helps the swimmer in launching through the water while swimming.