Making a Dream Come True for A Boston Marathon Bombing Survivor

By Suzanne
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Adrianne Haslet-Davis Dances at TED

Photo credit James Duncan Davidson/TED via Flickr

Creating an unforgettable moment crystallizing how technology can change a person’s life, Adrianne Haslet-Davis last week fulfilled her dream of dancing again less than a year after losing part of her leg in the Boston Marathon Bombing. Haslet-Davis’ moment  took place at TED 2014 and was made possible through hard work and the support of Hugh Herr, MIT’s BioMechatronics Lab Director, who outfitted her with a revolutionary prosthetic limb that allowed her re-learn basic dance moves that once came naturally to her.

Photo of Adrianne Haslet-Davis and Hugh Herr at TED

Photo credit James Duncan Davidson/TED via Flickr

Herr, shown above with Haslet-Davis at TED, is known for his revolutionary work in the emerging field of biomechatronics – creating bionic limbs that emulate the function of natural limbs. Herr was a guest earlier this year at Dassault Systemes’ SOLIDWORKS World event where he told attendees how he designed his own legs after suffering an accident as a child.  Using SOLIDWORKS,  he created the world’s first bionic foot and calf system called the BiOM.

Professor Hugh Herr at SolidWorks World 2014

The BiOM Being Designed in SOLIDWORKS

BiOM prosthetic legs mimic the movement of natural limbs by adapting to a person’s walking speed and the terrain of the land to help the prosthetic propel the person naturally. By simply using a battery source and springs for energy, the prosthetic legs augment a person’s ability to run and walk.  They normalize a person’s pace while enhancing stability and controlling for fatigue.

Professor Hugh Herr at SolidWorks World 2014

The SolidWorks World Audience is Surprised
to Learn that Herr Wears Prosthetics

Herr and his group worked with SOLIDWORKS Simulation Premium to create the BiOM prosthetic legs. He uses it in his group at MIT as well – as he feels that the minimal learning curve allows for quick, easy use by new incoming students.

The human body is often referred to as “the world’s most advanced machine,” and by improving medical device design and patient experience with our 3D design and simulation technologies, the potential to understand how that machine works is finally here.  As seen at TED, these advancements are enabling people to achieve what they once only dreamed.

Below is a video of Herr speaking to the audience about his work and about how technology has positively changed his life:

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Technology with a purpose: 3D Printing for People with Disabilities

By Aurelien
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South by SouthWest Interactive (SXSWi) is a great place to hear about upcoming trends from highly influential keynote speakers. However, it is even better at revealing smaller yet not less relevant gems. Enabled by Design is probably one of them.  :-)

World-Changing Dreamer: Andjelic Zoran

By Aurelien
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IFWEFollowing up our introductory post on World-Changing Dreamers revealed by the IF WE Challenge, this is a first post in a series about our three lucky winners.

Let’s begin with the second runner-up, Andjelic Zoran. His IF WE Dream was: “IF WE have enough 3D printers, we could make custom made prosthetic limbs for all victims of landmines and renew their faith in science”. Andjelic talks about his dream with great passion:

I currently work as an industrial equipment designer in Italy and often stay after work to use your software, I am simply in love with it.  But I’m originating from Bosnia and Herzegovina and there are a lot of people injured by land mines in my country.

The main thing that bothers them with their prosthetics besides the limited functionality due to limited budget is the aesthetics. Usually they come in skin-color, that’s pretty creepy because it looks like a puppet part. Many of them are young, have psychological issues and have lost their faith in science, because of its involvement in weapon design. Now they can see athletes at the Olympic games with state-of-art prosthetics, yet they can’t have such prosthetics.

Since I have skills in surface design, my dream is to return in Bosnia and use my knowledge to help this people.  Modern technology makes possible to scan injured limbs and 3D print custom, more ergonomic prosthetic limbs. Such equipment is very expensive and I know it is impossible to help everyone at the moment but I want to start and raise money to fulfill my dream. In Bosnia my friends have some CNC machines able to produce some parts for those limbs. I will find my way through humanitarian organizations to get appropriate 3D scanners and 3D printers for custom made parts but we will certainly need software that is able to use scanned dates, transform them in STL file, support 3D printing and CNC machining.

I hope that we will be able to produce prosthetics that will be more functional, more comfortable and make some people happy again. I also hope that your company will give a contribution. So I send you my concept of prosthetic limb. I will add outside parts when we become able to produce them.

As a winner of the third prize, Andjelic was provided with a high performance laptop and a CATIA licence. Here is what he wrote us when he received the package:

I have received the package with laptop and I am very happy right now. […] This will help me a lot to make my dreams come true.

We definitely hope so, Andjelic, and we’re glad to bring a humble contribution to your world-changing dream!  :D