Aug 25, 2011

Illini Prosthetic Technologies Refines Its Durable and Affordable Prosthetic Arm With Autodesk Inventor Software

Autodesk, Inc. (NASDAQ: ADSK), has named Illini Prosthetic Technologies (IPT), a nonprofit organization, as the Autodesk Inventor of the Month for August for the company’s use of Autodesk Inventor 3D mechanical design software in developing a more affordable and more easily fitted prosthetic arm for below-elbow amputees, particularly those living in developing nations.

There are an estimated 25 million amputees around the world, 80 percent of them in the developing world. IPT’s prosthetic arm represents an opportunity for them to regain the use of their limbs, return to work and better care for themselves and their families.

“We believe that we can live in a world where every amputee has access to affordable prosthetic care,” said Jonathan Naber, president and founder of IPT. “Autodesk Inventor software is helping us make that vision a reality much sooner by enabling us to digitally explore and refine our ideas.”

IPT's innovation uses an open socket technology that allows prostheses to be fitted onto patients “off the shelf” and in a matter of minutes, a welcome change to the more traditional lengthy and costly custom fabrication and fitting process. The device comes in a variety of sizes that are adjustable for length, diameter and contour, thus ensuring the best fit for the largest possible range of below-elbow amputations.

IPT was founded in 2008 by six University of Illinois engineering students who noticed that while a number of low-cost prosthetics options were available for leg amputees, arm prosthetics typically remained prohibitively expensive.

Testing Ideas With Digital Prototyping

By creating digital prototypes of its prosthetic arm with Inventor, IPT has been able to streamline its product design process and create working physical prototypes that successfully incorporate and balance affordability, durability and flexibility — all important factors for users in developing countries.

IPT is currently gathering feedback from actual amputees on the most recent iteration of its prosthetic arm, and team members will be traveling to Guatemala later in the year to conduct further user testing — as well as to see the direct impact their device is having on people’s lives.

“IPT is a terrific example of bright young minds working together to make the world a better place,” said Robert “Buzz” Kross, senior vice president, Manufacturing Industry Group at Autodesk. “It is thrilling and inspiring to see this group using Digital Prototyping technology to take an innovative idea and turn it into reality — all in service of a great cause.”