Our team has developed a single-piece, waterproof wrist brace for scaphoid fracture recovery. The team utilized composite material design methods and Polyjet technology to approximate create a graded material transition that offers location-dependent properties in a single 3D printed brace.
Throughout 2018, I was a victim of three automotive and bicycle accidents. After the last accident, I severely damaged my scaphoid in my hand, with expected recovery lasting up to a year, and the requirement of a cast/brace lasting 3-6 months. Rather than letting my injury take control of my life, I decided to take the opportunity to turn the experience into a learning and educational one. Given I have only one fully functioning hand, I have been working with a close friend and engineer, Atanaz Bohlooli, to design a single-piece 3D printed cast that will offer me comfort and ease of use superior to existing casts/braces.
More details coming soon…
After the removal of my solid cast around November of 2018, my physician provided me a removable cloth & metal brace that was intended to be removable and adjustable to provide maximum comfort while still functioning to immobilize my wrist for healing. However, as I used the brace, I realized the time required to wash the brace and allow it to dry resulted in a brace that collected an awful stench; at the same time, the brace, while much more comfortable than my fiberglass cast, had limited breathability. However, the brace had advantages too: it was easy-to-use, a single piece, and easy to store. Many of the objectives of this project were crafted by taking the desired features from my own experience and adding them to some of the good features of the cloth & metal brace provided by my physician. Our team also wanted to use a certain set of technologies, which were incorporated into our objectives/constraints for the project.
In the development of the wrist brace, a series of steps were identified for the development of a brace that achieved the desired objectives while minimizing failures. The process originally identified is provided as follows. However, the team was operating under a variety of time constraints, which led us to have to weigh the production of a deliverable against thorough analysis of the design and failure modes. This challenge will be described later, and the ramifications of our decisions are also described.
Photo Documentation of Our Process
Skills & Takeaways
DUKE PRATT SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING