Belmont University Research Symposium (BURS)

Applying Architectural Processes to Augment the Customization of Medical Orthoses Using 3D Technologies

Publication Date

Spring 2023


O'More College of Architecture and Design


Interior Design

BURS Faculty Advisor

Reid Cimala

Presentation Type

Oral Presentation


This research explicates how architectural design methodologies, along with 3D technologies, can be applied to the customization and production of medical orthoses. An architectural design process, which can be outlined through the five stages of concept definition, schematic design, design development, fabrication, and construction, is a highly applicable logic of problem-solving that can be reinforced and enriched by contemporary technologies. In this case, it is important to examine the following: how 3D scanning technology can capture the patient’s specific anatomic conditions, how freeform digital modeling can respond to precise needs through design, and how 3D printing techniques can utilize the most suitable materials and quickly manufacture products with maximum efficiency and accuracy.

The artifact presented alongside this research exemplifies how these technologies, guided by an architectural process of problem-solving, can augment the orthosis industry by resolving some current shortcomings of mass-produced braces. For example, sizing limitations of widely sold, prefabricated orthoses necessitate the patient fitting into one of a few standardized sizes. Building on previous designs by MHOX and research conducted by Keio University graduate students, this project proves 3D scanning, modeling, and printing technologies are highly capable of fabricating custom fitting orthoses. Customized orthoses can target precise injuries, accommodate specific physical needs, and more effectively serve the user. This need-centric approach alongside technology-based development and fabrication is fundamental within the architectural design process, which is an exceedingly effective way of confronting design issues in a variety of fields, with particular feasibility in the manufacture of customized medical orthoses.

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