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Open-source moves into prosthetics

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February 23, 2006

Open-source moves into prosthetics

Stephen Baker

Open-source software is old hat. But over the coming years we're going to be seeing more and more open-source hardware projects. Check out this initiative from The Open Prosthetics Project. They're inviting people to share design improvements in artificial limbs. According to Greg Milliken, ceo of Alibre Inc:

The group is basically driving “open source” design. Medical product designers can post new ideas for prosthetic devices as CAD files on the OPP web site, which are then available to the public free of charge. Prosthetic users or other designers can download the CAD data, customize or improve upon the prosthesis, and then repost the new design on the site. Users are free to take 3D models to a fabricator and have the hardware built for less than the cost of buying a manufactured limb.

This open-source initiative could be immensely important. It could help thousands of veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan. And you can bet that many of them will have the network smarts to take advantage of it.

08:25 AM


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The Open Prosthetics Project: Prosthetics shouldn’t cost an arm and a leg from Alibre CEO Blog

The Open Prosthetics Project (OPP) is another example of Alibre enabling innovation and creative ideas in a way that traditional CAD vendors simply can’t, or won’t... [Read More]

Tracked on June 7, 2006 01:44 PM

There seems to be an open source movement in this area. I know that HSS Ventures, has an open source development model - they are part of the Hospital for Special Surgery in NYC.

Here's the link

Posted by: Niti Bhan at February 23, 2006 07:46 PM

I discovered this project while doing some research on a similar and perhaps complimentary idea sparked by reading an entry over on rapid-prototyping expert Terry Wohler's site ( ). Last September he mentioned being involved in the RP4Baghdad project ( ), another excellent humanitarian effort. These things are about as good as it gets.

As an aside, this sort of thing dovetails nicely with projects like RepRap, the effort to design and fabricate an open-source rapid-prototyping device.

((Advance warning, the images on the RP4Baghdad sight are extremely graphic.))

Posted by: csven at February 24, 2006 06:17 PM

Thanks for the kind write up on our project. We would like to say, though, that we see ourselves as part of a larger movement around open source hardware design. Some others in the field doing great work include Squid-Labs/Instructables ( and some of our collaborators in the prosthetics arena are also working on interesting open source medical technologies (check out and just to name a few).

Just like open source software, we hope that as the barriers for participation are lowered through improvements in design and rapid manufacturing technology, open sourcing of hardware becomes a mainstream option for innovators.

Posted by: tackle design at March 13, 2006 03:52 PM


its great site..i am interested in the research of the prosthetic.. i want help from you.. i have the same challange that you have undertaken help the man kind..

Posted by: sameer at June 30, 2006 01:45 PM

yeh, open sourcing of hardware as well as software becomes a mainstream option for innovators.


Posted by: Dr Elizabeth at July 5, 2006 01:56 PM

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