3D-Printed Hybrid Robotic Exoskeleton Enables Paralyzed Woman to Walk
3D Systems  has announced that it recently debuted the first ever 3D printed hybrid Exoskeleton robotic suit in collaboration with EksoBionics at a Singularity University-hosted event in Budapest. Amanda Boxtel acted as the test pilot for this venture. On Feb. 27, 1992, Amanda Boxtel took a fall while skiing in Aspen, CO that culminated in a freak somersault. The accident left her paralyzed from the waist down. At the hospital, Boxtel's doctor told her she would never walk again. Despite her paralysis, the hybrid 3D printed robotic suit enabled Amanda to stand tall and walk throughout Budapest.
“After years of dreaming about it, I am deeply grateful and thrilled to be making history by walking tall in the first ever 3D printed Ekso-Suit, made specifically for me,” said Amanda Boxtel, referencing the custom tailored 3D printed Ekso-Suit that was created by 3DS’ designers. To obtain the perfect fit for Amanda, our designers used 3D scanning to digitize the contours of Amanda’s thighs, shins and spine and create a personalized three-dimensional base to inform the shape of the required assemblies. Sophisticated mechanical actuators and controls, manufactured and provided by Ekso Bionics, were then integrated with the more fluid components that were 3D printed from the customized scans to create the first ever bespoke suit. “This project represents the triumph of human creativity and technology that converged to restore my authentic functionality in a stunningly beautiful, fashionable and organic design,” Boxtel said.
“I believe that the most beautiful and functional designs have already been patented by nature, and inspired by Amanda’s incredible spirit, we were able to harness nature’s beauty with 3D printed functionality and freedom of creation to allow her body and spirit to soar,” said Avi Reichental, President and CEO of 3DS. “3DS has long been a pioneer in patient-specific devices, integrating our cutting-edge 3D capabilities with robotics to better serve humanity opens new and unimaginable frontiers.”
3DS’ patient-specific devices currently serve a growing field of medical applications to improve surgical outcomes and quality of care, including preoperative surgery, surgical drill and saw guides, dentistry and orthodontics.