Dr Sebastian Pattinson, leader of the Department’s Complex Additive Materials Group, has been awarded grant funding to develop bespoke 3D printed support braces.
3D printing allows us to make bespoke braces that work better and which are more cost-effective, but in order to realise this potential, we will be developing new materials/structures to improve the function of braces and to make them more widely available.Dr Sebastian Pattinson
The Academy of Medical Sciences Springboard grant is awarded to biomedical researchers at the start of their first independent post to help launch their research careers. It provides up to £100,000 over two years.
Dr Pattinson, Lecturer in Manufacturing Processes, Systems and Organisations, will develop more comfortable and effective 3D printed support braces as part of the project titled 3D printing imperceptible orthoses with biomimetic geometry and molecular structure to enable healthy gait.
Braces are externally worn devices that can help support the limbs or spine and improve quality of life.
Dr Pattinson said: “Medical conditions affecting the musculoskeletal system are very common, but existing braces often don't work that well or are uncomfortable to wear. The methods used to make them are also very time-intensive and can be expensive, which limits their availability. 3D printing could address a lot of these challenges; it allows us to make bespoke braces that work better and which are more cost-effective, but in order to realise this potential, better materials/structures are needed."
“The focus of this project will be on developing these new materials/structures to improve the function of braces and to make them more widely available,” he added.