Thanks to the funding obtained from Regione Lombardia within the Regional Operational Programme POR FESR 2014-2020 (co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund), the Techinnova working group, in synergy with the project Partners, has started the development phases of the Custom Medical Printing – CMP project, which aims to define innovative processes functional to the creation of custom-made external support devices for medical and healthcare use.

Starting from the scanning of the patient’s anatomical structures and through an advanced production technique based on 3D printing, the researchers aim to obtain devices that can be used for the treatment of pathological conditions affecting the skeletal system. The project’s target audience is fragile individuals who, due to age, height, body weight or other physical characteristics, are unable to access standardised medical support devices currently available on the market.

The key: total customization

The main objective of the Research & Development work carried out by the Techinnova team is the customisation of 

Custom Medical Printing (CMP)

Recipient: Techinnova S.p.A.

Initiative implemented under Priority Axis III – Enhancing research, development and innovation

Goal: Investment in growth and employment

Action I.1.b.1.2 – Support for the economic valorisation of innovation through the experimentation and adoption of innovative solutions in processes, products and organisational formulas, as well as by funding the industrialisation of research results

Project Description: Development of an innovative process – based on 3D Printing technologies – for the customised production of external support devices for medical and healthcare use

the medical support device, which – thanks to anatomical optical scanning – will be able to adapt to any subject, promoting maximum comfort and adaptability.
The work of Techinnova’s research team will therefore be aimed at realising a process innovation, which will occur on two levels at the same time:

  • the one of design and modelling, evaluating – with specific reference to the identified end-users – the use of innovative materials with structural elements of plant origin;
  • the one of prototyping, realising the prototype of the support device for medical and healthcare use with 3D printing.

Regarding this second point, the Techinnova team also plans, thanks to the CMP project, to play an active role in increasing the potential offered by 3D printing applied to the field of precision medicine, initially on a national basis and subsequently with the possibility of extension to the European and international healthcare scene.

Integrated sensors: for all-round innovation

In addition to process innovation, CMP intends to introduce product innovation by embedding a network of sensors within the resulting orthotic devices. Pressure sensors (for detecting the forces acting on the devices), temperature sensors (for assessing the proper functioning of the electronic systems and at the same time the patient’s state of health), gyroscopes (for detecting limb rotation) and accelerometers (for measuring limb acceleration) will therefore be introduced, integrated with wireless modules and microcontrollers to enable communication and data transmission.
In this way, the IoT functionalisation of the healthcare device will allow the acquisition of the vital parameters of the subject who will use it, and will provide healthcare professionals with useful data for monitoring his or her pathology, thus contributing to risk prevention and assisting the end-user in the management of his or her health status.

A Research & Development project

CMP is the result of an extremely innovative idea: therefore, it is configured as a true R&D project

It is indeed characterized by activities linked to both a Research phase – which includes the analysis of techniques and functional technologies for the acquisition of bio-images, the elaboration of models and their production by means of 3D printing – and a Development phase, focused on the implementation of production techniques and the development of prototypes of custom-made devices.

THE R&D PROCESS IN A NUTSHELL

Research phase

  • Survey of existing products: identification of materials used and how existing orthoses are used.
  • Evaluation of materials: considering the results that emerged from the analysis and noting the absence of completely waterproof solutions, it was decided to produce the orthoses in flexible plastic (TPU) in order to enable the performance of exercises underwater.
  • Body measurement and identification of the method of attachment of the orthoses: after taking body measurements and identifying the method of attachment, it was decided to develop a modular product adaptable to different body conformations.

Development phase

1. Model design and creation

Detailed design definition and creation of a reference model.

2. Implementation of product printing

Use of advanced printing technologies to translate the model into a tangible prototype.

3. Sensorization

Integration of sensors to improve product functionality and response.

4. Testing phase and final product (v1)

Verification of performance through rigorous testing, culminating in the production of the final product ready for use.

5. Development of an evolved prototype (v2)

Elaboration of a new ready-to-use prototype.

Main Partner