Engineers at the Sharjah Research, Technology, and Innovation Park (SRTIP) have made a significant advancement in the development of prosthetic limbs utilizing 3D printing technology, as reported by Alarabiya News. These 3D printed prosthetics surpass current manufacturing methods in numerous ways, offering a lightweight and robust structure, comfort, and customization. Additionally, they are accurate, cost-effective, and can be produced at a fraction of the price while maintaining complete precision.
This innovative generation of prosthetic limbs aims to facilitate the adaptation process for patients who have lost limbs due to accidents, natural disasters, or wars, as well as for people with disabilities. The limbs can be tailored to each patient’s specific needs through software and produced at an impressively accelerated rate.
Abdulqader, a researcher at SRTIP, stated that this breakthrough was accomplished at the Sharjah Open Innovation Laboratory (SoiLAB) using industrial-grade 3D printing technology and artificial intelligence-based software.
“This represents the largest leap in the field of prosthetic devices in the UAE and demonstrates the country’s capabilities as well as the emirate of Sharjah’’s position as an incubator of innovations and scientific research on a global scale,” said Abdulqader. “We have conducted extensive research and development to ensure that the prosthetic leg is not only lightweight and strong, but also stylish, comfortable, and adaptable to the varying needs of users. Using state-of-the-art Artificial Intelligence software, we were able to generate a unique design, one which is extremely light but durable, impossible to manufacture traditionally, as well as customizable to each user’s exact needs.”
The use of 3D printing technology for prosthetic production offers numerous advantages. It substantially lowers costs compared to conventional methods, enhances precision and customization, and allows for the creation of more intricate and accurate components. Furthermore, 3D printed prosthetics can be produced at a much faster rate, and the high accuracy of these industrial-grade machines reduces the likelihood of human error. This technology enables the production of lightweight artificial limbs and facilitates rapid adjustments to suit individual requirements.
“This breakthrough by our young Emirati engineers reflects the emergence of the next generation of specialists and professionals in additive manufacturing and 3D technology. It is part of our integrated professional program to spot and nurture young Emirati engineers and groom them to be leaders, skilled industrial entrepreneurs, and professional specialists of the future,” said Hussain Al Mahmoudi, CEO of SRTIP. “SOILAB is the first incubation center for start-ups and innovative businesses in Sharjah that allows the community of practitioners to exchange materials and learn new skills and focus on engaging participants in learning content, which includes schools and universities. The idea is to provide students, researchers, and innovators with latest technologies and advanced machines, at a nominal cost, in addition to attracting international companies to conduct research.”
This latest achievement aligns with SRTIP’s groundbreaking work in 3D printing technology, which encompasses areas such as dentures, bones, medical and surgical devices, and hearing aids.
“The project of 3D printed limbs will address the problem of scarcity, cost, and customizability of prosthetic limbs. In addition, the ease, speed, and low costs can lead to a dramatic transformation in the way artificial limbs were produced so far. Finally, this technology is drastically cheaper than limbs made using traditional methods,” added Al Mahmoudi.
The accomplishment of the Emirati engineers highlights SRTIP’s success in cultivating Emirati talent. Last year, SRTIP celebrated the graduation of the second group of young Emirati engineer trainees as part of a training and qualification program focused on future industries and technologies, including additive manufacturing. The program’s participants were selected from various universities and colleges in the UAE – all with engineering backgrounds and qualifications.