The Invisalign of Orthotics
Mass customization of 3D-printed lattice insoles
Industry: Orthotics and Prosthetics
Product: Mass-Customized Lattice Insoles
Partners: Elite Orthotics, Doc Sols
In the traditional realm of custom insoles, the process involves milling thermoplastic or EVA materials into shape, resulting in orthotics with relatively uniform density and strength. Achieving various mechanical properties traditionally requires piecing together different materials, a laborious and manual procedure. This method, while effective, has its limitations in terms of design flexibility and precision. Imagine repeating this process for tens of thousands of patients - scaling efforts to bring comfort to more patients is tied to manpower and time.
However, with the advent of 3D printing, a transformative shift has occurred in the world of orthotics. It is now possible to embed various mechanical properties directly into a material, even at the same thickness, all thanks to the intricate lattice structures. These lattice structures, reminiscent of the human bone architecture, offer an ingenious solution. The denser and tighter the lattice beams, the stiffer the resulting lattice structure, akin to cortical bone. Conversely, if the lattice beams are wider, sparser, or thinner, the lattice structure becomes softer, similar to spongy bone.
Designing such complex 3D objects through traditional Computer-Aided Design software is not only challenging but becomes increasingly manual when each orthotic must be custom-made based on specific inputs.
Achieving the Vision with Algorithmic Engineering
This pioneering project is a collaborative effort between Hyperganic, a deep-tech software startup, and Elite Orthotics, an Australian Podiatry Clinic. Together, we have created a standalone application called Doc Sols, dedicated to customizing, designing, and generating these groundbreaking insoles.
The creation of these 3D structured lattices has historically been a computationally demanding task. However, with Hyperganic’s expertise in Algorithmic Engineering and Software Development, the Doc Sols application now enables Elite Orthotics to generate intricate lattice insoles in a matter of seconds.
To make this process even more precise and patient-specific, Doc Sols features a specialized AI tool called ‘DSet.’ This tool allows for the capture of scans and images of patients’ feet, enabling accurate detection of critical parameters like foot length, arch height, foot post angle, and more. Based on this data, the AI tool generates a detailed prescription for the patient, including the demarcation of areas where different mechanical properties are required. Podiatrists or practitioners can then review and make adjustments as needed.
The variety of lattice patterns available for customization is extensive, with pre-made selections of validated lattices. Additionally, unique lattice designs can be added if they are found to offer better performance in terms of cushioning and support. For instance, the anterior or front margin of the long arch can be made softer by reducing beam thickness to facilitate uninhibited movement. Conversely, the support needed for the posterior or rear arch can be achieved by increasing beam thickness.
Precise customization extends to the rear foot post angle, which can be measured and catered to within 0.5 degrees of accuracy. Once the digital insole designs are perfected, they are sent to an industrial 3D printer, often utilizing TPU material by EOS. These industrial-grade 3D printers are capable of producing lattice insoles at a scale and precision that was traditionally impossible to achieve.
The introduction of mass-customized 3D printed orthotics and insoles through the collaboration between Hyperganic and Elite Orthotics, facilitated by the Doc Sols application, marks a groundbreaking achievement in the realm of personalized orthopedic support. This innovative technology enables a level of precision, customization, and scalability that revolutionizes the way we care for our feet, bringing the benefits of tailored orthotics and insoles to individuals in need, whether they are seeking comfort, support, or enhanced performance.