Industrial design students at Kansas State University (KSU), including members of the IDSA Student Chapter at KSU, are making a difference in accessible design. The more than two dozen sophomores in KSU’s Interior, Architecture and Product Design Studio (IAPD) designed 3D printed prosthetic “skins” which are being fitted over the existing prostheses of six KSU students.
Assistant Professor Dustin Headley says the skins are 3D printed in a flexible resin, then connected to an existing prosthetic limb. Headley says this is a first-of-its-kind production method that can dramatically lower the price of existing skin prostheses which may cost about $1,000 each. The ID students are producing all six “skins” for that price.
Bryce Boyer, a senior who doesn’t let his condition stop him from participating in wrestling, jiu-jitsu and mountain climbing, is among the students benefiting from the skins. “When the kids will stare at me, I want to give them something nice to look at,” Boyer says.
The assignment to design the skins was an extension of a human empathy project by the students. They spent a large part of the project simulating the loss of mobility, sight and hearing loss to gain empathy. “It really is an immersive experience where the students are not only being educated on some technical issues involved in making 3D printing and digital modeling… but also… something that is actually given and is manufactured and we give it to the participants.”
The faculty advisor for KSU's IDSA Student Chapter is Assistant Professor David Richter-O'Connell.