3D printing for stroke rehabilitation

Marc Roca and Iñigo Martinez-Ayo, two industrial designers studying for a Master’s Degree in Product Design and Development Engineering in our center, have created a swim fin to speed up the rehabilitation of Pedro, a 16-year-old boy from Barcelona who has always loved to play sports.

In August 2012, he suffered a stroke, a left basal ganglia hematoma, which caused lack of movement in the right hemibody, preventing him from living his life as before. After a long period of rehabilitation, he recovered most of his mobility, except for his right hand, which was affected by spasticity.

In July 2016, Pedro started a new sports project at the Hospitalet Swimming Club, but due to a lack of mobility and spasticity, Pedro had difficulty positioning his right hand correctly when swimming.

To find a solution, their coaches Àlex Agut and Jordi Lorca, contacted the CIM UPC, prestigious center for its Master’s and Postgraduate programs, in addition to BCN3D’s projects focused on the development of 3D printing technologies. Marc Roca and Iñigo Martinez-Institutor, students of the Master in Design and Engineering Product Development, have been in charge of solving this challenge, creating a customized product for Pedro. With the help of 3D printing it is possible to carry out a more comprehensive product development process in a short time and with different materials.

Marc and Iñigo, using the BCN3D Sigma 3D printer, developed the product in less than four weeks and with a budget of only 100 €.

With the results obtained, Pedro managed to have his 3D printed paddle fully functional in a very short period of time, generating, among others, the following advantages: improved support and body position, facilitating the stroke and cyclic movement.

Because of his improved swimming position, Pedro spent more time in the pool, thus improving the muscle toning of his entire body.

Pedro’s case is an example of the benefits that can be achieved through the knowledge obtained in the Master and with the 3D printing that we offer from the CIM-UPC center.