We make custom foot orthotics. We have done the process by hand for thirty years. Now, we are trying to automate the process.
Typically, this is the automated process.
1. The image of the foot is scanned with a 3D scanner into a format that can be modified with a CAD program. We just bought a nice scanner and have transmitted files to other labs that are already automated for completion.
The rest of this explanation is as I have understood the process. There may be simpler ways for a software engineer to accomplish the same outcome.
2. The Cad program allows for modifying the scan file according to some standard practices. For example. The heel area may be widened. The forefoot may be elevated on the medial or the lateral aspect, the arch will usually be filled in 3mm or so. A few other changes may be made.
3. After the cast (scan of the foot) is modified to the desired shape, a surface can be draped over it and trimmed according to anatomical landmarks the operator can identify.
4. The trimmed surface will then become the desired shape of the final product and a toolpath will be sent to a g-code router to mill/duplicate this shape in plastic or orthopedic foam.
Sometimes it would be desirable to mill out the actual modified cast/shape of the foot so the process can be finished by hand with different heat moldable materials.
Usually, we would use the trimmed surface however; and, mill out the final product.
5. The designed orthotics/or modified cast, ready for milling, would need to be nested to fit the milling surface in such a way as to save on time and material allowing for the milling machine/router to complete several pair in each run..
I am hoping that at lest the CAD part of this process could be done as a plug in to Rhino. There are very few options in the marketplace for dedicated orthotic design programs. One is Delcam (30.000$) . Another is SharpShape (25,000$) Both companies get hefty yearly license.
For an example of this type of program go to [url removed, login to view] or google AOMS or Sharp Shape
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