AA Portnova, G Mukherjee, KM Peters, A Yamane, KM Steele (2018) “Design of a 3D-printed, open-source wrist-driven orthosis for individuals with spinal cord injury.” PLOSOne

Journal article in PLOSOne: In collaboration with the University of Washington Prosthetics and Orthotics Division, a user-centered design approach was used to improve the design and wearability of a passive, wrist-driven orthosis. To read the article in full, click HERE. To access the open-source print files, click HERE.

Orthotists in training assemble the 3D-printed parts of a new wrist-driven orthosis in the top image. The lower image showcases a user gripping a pen in his freshly donned orthosis.Background: Assistive technology, such as wrist-driven orthoses (WDOs), can be used by individuals with spinal cord injury to improve hand function. A lack of innovation and challenges in obtaining WDOs have limited their use. These orthoses can be heavy and uncomfortable for users and also time-consuming for orthotists to fabricate.

Purpose/Methods: The goal of this research was to design a WDO with user (N = 3) and orthotist (N = 6) feedback to improve the accessibility, customizability, and function of WDOs by harnessing advancements in 3D-printing.

Results: The 3D-printed WDO reduced hands-on assembly time to approximately 1.5 hours and the material costs to $15 compared to current fabrication methods. Varying improvements in users’ hand function were observed during functional tests, such as the Jebsen Taylor Hand Function Test. For example, one participant’s ability on the small object task improved by 29 seconds with the WDO, while another participant took 25 seconds longer to complete this task with the WDO. Two users had a significant increase in grasp strength with the WDO (13–122% increase), while the other participant was able to perform a pinching grasp for the first time.

The WDO designs are available open-source to increase accessibility and encourage future innovation.

2015 Levinson Emerging Scholar

Sasha during her first testing session with her 3D-printed orthosis.Sasha Portnova has been named one of ten 2015 Levinson Emerging Scholar’s! This is a highly competitive program supporting talented and highly motivated undergraduates who want to pursue creative and advanced bioscience and related research. As a Levinson Emerging Scholar, she will receive funding to support her research, including funding to present their findings at a professional conference. The award will support Sasha’s on-going research to improve the design of affordable, 3D-printed orthoses for individuals with spinal cord injury and other neurologic disorders. She will also be presenting this work at the American Academy of Orthotists & Prosthetists in Orlando, March 9-11, 2016.

Congratulations Sasha!

Sasha Portnova – Best Poster at NWBS!

Alex presenting her poster at the Northwest Biomechanics Symposium.

Sasha Portnova – Northwest Biomechanics Symposium Best Poster Award!

Sasha Portnova, a junior in mechanical engineering who has been doing research in our lab for the past year was awarded the Best Poster Award – BS/MS Category at the 2015 Northwest Biomechanics Symposium. Her research focuses on using 3D-printing to improve the design of upper-extremity orthoses for individuals with spinal cord injury and other neurologic disorders.