PROTEA aims to improve the fit and acceptance of prostheses. Factors such as age, weight and individual needs are directly related to prosthesis use. Other causes of low acceptance in different target groups are poor prosthesis fitting, increased discomfort and low identification. In addition, fluctuations in body shape due to weight changes or due to occupation- or lifestyle-specific postures impede fit and wearer comfort. Furthermore, PROTEA aims to close an existing gender and diversity gap, as women are less likely to be equipped with a prosthesis than male amputees. When women receive a prosthesis, prosthetic fitting fails more frequently and prostheses are less likely to be accepted and used. Key innovations to achieve the milestones include a digital manufacturing process, material and structural innovations through 3D printing of the outer socket along with a soft socket (combination of liner and soft socket) with integrated sensor technology. 3D printing offers a sustainable solution for manufacturing, customization and functionalization of prostheses, which can thus be better adapted to the needs of prosthesis wearers while being more resource-efficient, sustainable and flexible. The integration of sensor technology is also expected to contribute to the continuous monitoring of fit and acceptance and thus support the minimization of various barriers in the use of prostheses.
Through interdisciplinary cooperation between industry, research, gender experts and all important user groups, the advantages of 3D printing for prostheses, taking into account gender- and diversity-related aspects, can be developed and jointly implemented in the PROTEA project. In this framework, a special focus is put on the development and transfer of gender-based knowledge in and across all involved entities, disciplines and the development of the digital manufacturing process.
Participating project partners in addition to the FH Kärnten (research group AAL and research center ADMiRE) the Interdisciplinary Research Center for Technology, Work and Culture, Luxinergy GmbH and Sepin Orthopädietechnik.
The FFG is the central national funding organization and strengthens Austria’s innovative power. The project is funded by the FFG.