Step One: Identify The Need or Problem
Step one of the prosthesis design process task was to identify a need or problem for a replacement human body part. Bianca and I chose to identify the needs of having a prosthetic big toe. This is because we found that the big toe on a human is one of the most important parts of the human body that is needed for balance. There are multiple other purposes of a prosthetic toe including aesthetics, stability, weight bearing and it can also prevent deformities from occurring in the foot. The main reason why we chose to construct a toe is to see for ourselves how people’s balance can be restored with the use of a prosthetic.
Step Two: Research The Need or Problem
We had to research the prosthetic big toe in order to have an understanding of what we were planning to make. It has been proven that 75% of the time, the big toe is in contact with the ground to provide the support needed to stay balanced. Prosthetic toes have been made to bear the weight and pressure of humans without breaking or falling apart when in use and also to provide balance to the human structure. A prosthetic big toe can be attached to the foot in many different ways although the most common attachment method is to construct and design the toe so that it slips over the foot like a sock or a slipper. It is sometimes made so that it slides over the second or even third toe for extra support and so that the prosthesis stays in place. The prosthetic big toe functions almost like a normal toe despite the fact that the movement within the toe is slightly restricted. It restores the balance to the amputees and leaves them feeling normal like everyone else. We also found that prosthetic toes are often made out of silicon, wood, plastic, foam or carbon fibre depending on the activity levels of the clients.
Step Three: Develop Possible Solutions
The next step that we took was drawing up some initial ideas of what exactly we were planning on making. These drawings were ideas of what the toe needed to look similar to in order to satisfy the needs of the amputees. After this, we went back onto the internet to research the average size of a big toe. This was important for our prosthesis as we were required to make a realistic toe that could take the place of a missing toe on a person. The size that we found to be most common was 28 millimetres. We decided that the material that we were going to make the toe out of would have to be plastic as it is the most affordable and adaptable material available to us. The plastic could be melted, glued and cut which was all the things that we would most likely need to do to the product. We had developed a few possible solutions of how we were going to make the prosthesis. This consisted of using the 3D printer or using spare parts and scraps to create our design from scratch.
Step Four: Select The Best Possible Solution
Bianca and I chose to use the 3D printer to design and construct our prosthetic toe. The next step consisted of finding a design in which we thought was most similar and would work best for our idea using an internet program called Thingyverse. There were reasons why we had to find a design instead of making our own. This is because we discussed the process with design technology teachers that were more experienced than us and they said that it could take up to a few weeks to design a toe especially as we are inexperienced with the program. This meant that by finding a design we could save time to construct, test and even redesign if needed all before the deadline of the assignment.