Bespoke Bodies: Boston Learns About the Design of Prosthetics

Earlier this month, the 3DHeals community joined the staff of the Design Museum of Boston for a tour of their current exhibit: Bespoke Bodies: The Design and Craft of Prosthetics (, on view at the Prudential Center through the end of August. We learned about the prosthetics for different parts of the body and their related challenges, how prosthetics design has advanced from passive to body-powered to electric, and the process that each amputee goes through to have a prosthetics fitted. A timeline showed the history of prosthetic design from ancient Egypt through the Civil War and into today. Hanger Clinic Manager Maggie Baumer generously showed us her prosthetic, which had been painted to match her other hand by one of the artists featured in the exhibit.

The prosthetics on display ranged from fashion pieces to high-performance devices used by Olympic athletes. Of particular interest to our group were several displays on the use of 3D scanning and printing, which allow for the creation of low-cost prosthetics for underserved populations such as children and the developing world.

At the end of the tour, attendees were able to experience MiGO, a new virtual reality experience by Hanger Clinic which immerses viewers in the lives of people with limb loss. For those who already possess VR goggles, MiGo is available to download. (

(Exhibit Manager Amanda Hawkins demonstrated a body-powered lower arm prosthetic)
(Limbforge uses 3D printing technology to provide customized prosthetics in the developing world)
(The internal structure of a LimbForge creates prosthetics which are lightweight and cost-effective)
(e-NABLE is a global network which creates free, open-source upper limb prosthetics for those in need, particularly children who grow too quickly for expensive, high-tech devices)
(Even animals sometimes need prosthetics to thrive, and current 3D scanning and printing technology makes it easy to iterate for unique patients)
(Boston Community Manager Gerald Matarazzo examines a display on advances in facial prosthetics from Peru)
(The exhibit extends into Virtual Reality with the MiGO Goggles from Hanger Clinic)

Related Articles:

3D Scanning and 3D Printing for Creating Affordable Prostheses

A Helping Hand to Those in Need—Improving the World with 3D Printing

3D Scanning for Prostheses

Interview: Mr. Jerry Evans, CEO of Nia Technologies Inc.