Rapid prototype (RP) technology is making headway in the medical field. Some applications of this technology include surgical planning and training, education and research, and prosthetics. Because of the precision of the 3D imaging technology and the use of the RP the project could offer a more hands-on approach to training, research, or treatment, the use of this specialized method in the medical area. This project will present a new approach to the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis using 3D prototypes. The methodology for the creating of a 3D prototype of a hand with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) will be presented. The patient’s hand will be scanned and then a prototype of the hand is prepared using a computer program. The model will be materialized with several RP technologies. This will result in a proportional, life-sized prototype of the patient’s rheumatic hand. This project will ultimately summarize the ways in which this method can potentially improve the treatment of patients with RA of the hand, such as leading to the development of a customized hand exoskeleton to assist with rehabilitation exercises.
The process is summarized in the scheme presented below, which starts from the identification of a patient with the pathology of the present study and the link with the use of RP technology, to obtain an object that allows easy manipulation for the study in the way in the generation of a proposal for a device that will allow rehabilitation for hands affected with RA.