Sunday, May 17, 2009

News: All smiles for Fripp Design


The Wellcome Trust has invested £½m with the University of Sheffield and Fripp Design in the rapid manufacture of soft tissue prosthetics.

Dr Julian Yates from the School of Clinical Dentistry, University of Sheffield and Fripp Design, based at the Advanced Manufacturing Park in Rotherham, have been awarded £510K over a three year period to develop a system to fabricate soft tissue prostheses for patients suffering from facial deformities as a result of disease or serious accidents.

Tom Fripp of Fripp Design said: "Currently soft tissue prostheses are hand made by highly skilled technicians. This relies on the specialist skills of about a very few people in the UK and a few thousand worldwide. This knowledge base is declining which will result in a lack of expertise affecting thousands of patients who rely on prosthesis for their quality of life.
"What we propose will replace the tailor made approach with flexible automation which, importantly, will allow us to create highly consistent quality prostheses for everyone, everywhere ... and at an affordable price."

Professor Ric Van Noort of the University of Sheffield School of Dentistry commented: "We recognised the problem but could not work out how to solve it. "We approached Fripp Design because of their expertise in industrial design. Fripp took the problem and were able to demonstrate a potential solution using layered fabrication. It was this that convinced Wellcome to award the money to allow for the continued development of a system which will bring benefit to thousands of patients

Fripp website
Sheffield University website

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