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New brace design developed using 3-dimensional printing

Monday, June 30, 2014

SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- When Ben Taylor heads to Stanford University this fall to study biomechanical engineering, he will be able to share one award-winning design. During his senior year at Franklin High School in Elk Grove, Ben partnered with Shriners Hospitals for Children — Northern California to design an award-winning ankle foot orthosis (AFO).  Ben worked with the orthotics and prosthetics team at Shriners Hospital to design the AFO using 360-degree imaging from a 3D printer and computer aided design (CAD). In March, Ben entered his design in the 2014 Elk Grove Invention Convention, where he took top honors in the Possibility Division.

“My mom is a pediatric physical therapist who owns her own business and has worked with patients seen in the Shriners movement analysis lab. She introduced me to the movement lab, and the orthotics and prosthetics lab at Shriners, because she knew I would be fascinated by their technology.” says Ben. “When Franklin High purchased a 3D printer, I saw an opportunity to partner with the team at Shriners to design something unique.”

Ben reached out to the co-directors of the Shriners Hospital movement analysis lab, Dr. Anita Bagley, a biomechanical engineer, and Dr. Jon Davids, a pediatric orthopaedic surgeon. Ben also presented his idea of using 3D printing to design an AFO to Dan Munoz, manager of the orthotics and prosthetics lab. The Shriners Hospital team supported the concept and guided Ben through the process of developing the AFO.

“It has been such a pleasure to work with Ben. He is such a smart young man and it is inspiring to be around such a capable mind,” says Dan Munoz, who welcomes Ben’s continued involvement in the lab this summer.

With an opportunity to study biomechanical engineering at Stanford beginning this fall, one can only expect Ben’s interest in innovative designs will gain momentum.