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LUNA Modular AFO

The LUNA Modular AFO is an Ankle Foot Orthosis (AFO) system for children with Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia and designed to adapt to the growing users modularly.

  • The LUNA Modular AFO

  • A video explaining the design process of the LUNA Modular AFO.

    A video explaining the design process of the LUNA Modular AFO.

  • The LUNA Modular AFO uses a modular system to adapt and conform to the growing user.

  • The secondary features of the LUNA Modular AFO.

  • Initial development sketches created from information learnt in industry interviews.

  • The stages of prototyping, the project explored multiple modular concepts and componentry.

What it does

The LUNA Modular AFO is a new approach to Ankle Foot Orthosis design, targeted at young and growing individuals with Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia. The unique design allows the device to adapt and conform to growing the users through a toolless modular system.


Your inspiration

Having grown up with two relatives with Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia (HSP), I quickly realised the poor consideration current orthoses provide to growing users. The rigid thermoplastic forms used to create the AFOs are intentionally very tight fitting to give the user the optimal support. However, with growing users, especially children, it often leads to bruising, blistering and cuts. After further research, I discovered that the ill-fitting devices extend further than growing users. The issue stems from systematic flaws in the fabrication process, which heavily rely on the skills and experience of the orthotists and fabricators.


How it works

The LUNA AFO consists of two systems; a user-customised component called the LUNA Surface and a mass-manufactured component called the LUNA Module. The LUNA Module acts as the base to which the LUNA Surfaces are attached, prolonging use over several years rather than the 6-8 months found in traditional AFOs. When the LUNA AFO is deemed too small, the new Surfaces will replace the existing ones. The LUNA Surfaces are 3D printed parts designed to be form-fitted to each unique user. The parts use 3D printing and scanning technology to digitised the fabrication process, which currently involved complex moulding and casting techniques. The digitisation of this process reduces the number of tacit skills required from fabricators and results in more consistently accurate orthoses. The Surfaces are printed in Nylon 11, a semi-flexible bioplastic; the design manipulates this material to soften sensitive areas and visually indicates when parts are too small.


Design process

In the initial stages, the project undertook a thorough investigation into the common symptoms, conditions and requirements for a child with Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia. The information gathered established an understanding of the problem from a physiological and biomechanical perspective. With this knowledge, the project developed an initial concept, which to used modular components to conform to growing children. The project then used this initial concept as a foundation to reach out and converse with industry professionals – Physiotherapists, Osteopaths, Child Orthotists and Biomechanical Engineers. The additional information gathered in these interviews was crucial, and the industry contacts would continue to play a vital role in the design process. The design developed through an iterative process of ideation sketches, physical prototyping, CAD modelling and further prototyping with analysis steps supporting design decisions between each process. These analysis steps consisted of user journey mapping, service mapping, subsequent interviews with industry professionals, material analysis and autopsies. Ultimately, the iterative process allowed the project to consider all aspects of the design from the fabricator to the end-user, providing a holistic design approach.


How it is different

Currently, the most common style of AFOs for children with HSP is the traditional vacuum-formed thermoplastic AFOs. How the LUNA Modular AFO separates itself from the conventional AFOs is primarily through the modular system that allows it to grow with the user. The other major difference is the holistic approach; the LUNA AFO considers all stakeholders in its design process. For the end-user, the modularity and flexible materiality provide a more comfortable solution. For their parental guardians, the design visually indicates when the AFO is too small, allowing them to actively monitor the condition and fitment of their child's AFO. Additionally, the modular system creates an overall more cost-effective alternative. Finally, for the professionals and fabricators, the system provides an open platform that utilises a digital process to create more accessible fabrication and more consistent orthoses for their clientele.


Future plans

I intended to present the design and the system to the industry professionals and their companies with whom I collaborated during the development of this project. Initially, to see how they could implement some features of the design immediately and potentially set out a plan to implement the complete design in the future.


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