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

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.