3D printed orthotics: Imprints
Imprints are 3D printed custom insoles designed to prevent diabetic foot ulceration. They do this by reducing the peak foot pressures that can cause foot ulcers to develop. The fully integrated solution comprises a 3D foot scanner, automated design software and a 3D insole printer.
These three components provide a complete insole design solution for the end user from plantar surface acquisition through to 3D insole printing. Unlike traditional methods the system captures accurate digital measurements of the foot to enable the creation and delivery of bespoke insoles that cater to each unique foot structure. The full process takes a matter of hours, drastically reducing waiting time whilst enabling the delivery of an inexpensive, fast and effective solution.
- Imprints scanner: structured light 3D scanner to capture the shape and biomechanics of the plantar surface. Dimensions captured include the foot-sole profile and pressure zones.
- Imprints software: uses data acquired from the scanner to generate an automatic profile for the insole. The software has been further developed by researchers at the University of Staffordshire specialising in biomechanics.
- Imprints 3D printer: designed to use exclusive TPU material for insole printing. The use of TPU allows the precise printing of lattice structures to create variable densities that enable patient specific offloading zones. The material is lightweight and non-bulky allowing use of the insole in conventional footwear.
- Imprints insoles: custom insoles designed for personalised offloading. They fit into conventional footwear, are cost-effective and hold a higher fatigue resistance than foam material.
Initial user trials show that the 3D printed insoles provide effective redistribution of peak foot pressures with an 8% greater reduction of mean peak pressure when compared to standard foam insoles.
The Imprints system was created in collaboration with Staffordshire University, Gyrobot, Recreus industries, Plymouth University and JB Medical.