A-FOOTPRINT: A case study exploring the small steps that are leading to giant strides in the use of additive manufacturing for foot orthoses

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The additive manufacturing (AM) revolution is in full swing. The global market for medical applications alone is expected to grow from $355 million in 2012 to almost $1 billion by 2019. The use of AM, or 3-D printing, has been widespread across a number of sectors for the last few years for prototyping and modeling, but real-world commercial opportunities are now beginning to come to the fore as research and development projects identify new uses and techniques.

One such project is A-FOOTPRINT, a joint research and innovation initiative led by Glasgow Caledonian University and headed up by Professor Jim Woodburn. The objective is to develop cost-effective orthoses – bespoke inserts or footbeds that are fitted into shoes - for common disabling conditions with very short turnaround times from appointment to delivery.

In this exclusive interview, Prof Woodburn discusses the findings from the A-FOOTPRINT project so far and how these can be applied to this rapidly developing market.