This research project illustrates the potential for collaborative endeavors that reconsider commonplace objects, especially in light of emerging digital technologies. In 1947, Charles and Ray Eames created a leg splint for the US Navy using molded plywood. It was functional, light, strong, and became legendary among designers. The SPLAST revisits the topic sixty years later. The result of this investigation is 25% lighter than the Eames’ splint – weighing just under one pound – and is capable of serving not only as a Splint but also as a high-performance, custom-fitting Cast; hence the name SPLAST. With performance and precision as primary goals, I turned to extreme applications for inspiration – motor and sailboat racing, sports medicine, bullet proof vests, space suits, and garments for severe work environments – as well as a dizzying array of digital tools that included:
3D Digital Input devices
Haptic Clay Carving Tools
And a variety of 3D modeling softwares.
While certainly more expensive than traditional casts or splints, form fitting customized SPLASTS could be generated in as little as six hours. Pre-made low-tolerance SPLASTS could be easily fabricated and distributed in several ready-made sizes.
|Keywords:||CNC, Rapid Prototyping, Digital Fabrication, Interdisciplinary Design, Medical, Collaboration|
Assistant Director of Digital Fabrication Lab, Harvard Graduate School of Design, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA
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