Evaluating the Socket Strength of 3D Printed Sockets

Barber Prosthetics Clinic, BCIT MAKE+ & Aimee Lizcano

3D printing is gaining exposure in the world of prosthetics.  Many of our patients have begun to ask us why we don’t use 3D printing in our clinic and if this technology could be right for them.  Currently, the largest limitation to using 3D printed sockets for lower extremity prosthetic applications is that there is no information available regarding their strength and safety when used by our patients outside of our clinics.  There is also little information available regarding the strength of current fabrication techniques.  The goal of this project is to apply the ISO standard for the Structural testing of Lower Limb Prostheses standard to evaluate the static socket strengths of transtibial sockets made using conventional and 3D printing technologies.

Phase one of this project has just been completed (and we will share the results soon!) and we are moving on to Phase 2. To see the beginning of this project and our 3D printer in action, check out our blog post.  


Quantifying the Effects of Physiological Arousal on Functional Balance and Mobility Performance in Lower-Extremity Amputees

Dr. James Wakeling, Dr. Courtney Pollock & Erina Cho from SFU with Barber Prosthetics Clinic

Past research have shown that falls remain to be common problem amongst people with lower-limb amputations, especially those with amputations at higher levels. One parameter that has been gaining larger interest is the influence of the psychology of the individual on his physical performance on mobility and balance tasks. Traditionally, to evaluate psychological characteristics, such as balance confidence and fear of falling, a number of self-reported surveys have been used.   The aim of this study is to evaluate whether the use of measuring Electrodermal Activity (EDA), a measure of skin-conductance that infers physiological arousal, could be used as an alternative or additional tool for better understanding the effects of psychology on mobility and balance performance in individuals with transfemoral amputations.


pregnant woman with transfemoral prosthesis

Pregnancy & Protheses

Barber Prosthetics Clinic & BCIT

Prostheses are custom fabricated to every individual’s body and are sensitive to even the slightest changes.  For a woman with a transfemoral amputation, the changes her body experiences during pregnancy are expected to pose disruptions to the use of her prosthesis.

Currently, there is no research available on the effect that pregnancy has on the fit, function, or use of transfemoral prostheses and there is little information available to women who are pregnant on what to expect in regards to their prosthesis. 

The purpose of this research is to explore this topic and provide information both to prosthetists and to patients with transfemoral amputation on what they can expect when pregnant.


senior man with transtibial prosthesis at Holy Family Hospital


Examining the Use of Lower Limb Prostheses in Older Adults in the Community following Inpatient Prosthetic Training at Holy Family Hospital  

Providence Health Care

At Holy Family Hospital, a local rehab facility, approximately 22 to 36 older adults with amputations complete inpatient prosthesis training on a yearly basis.  This training seeks to improve their functional independence and prepare them for reintegration into society.  However, the question we often ask ourselves is, “What happens when they go home?”

In order to answer this question, a team of Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists, Physiatrists, and Prosthetists was formed, with funding from the Providence Heath Care Practice-based Research Challenge. Our goal is to measure the use of a prosthesis and explore factors that contribute to its use, in order to improve the prosthetic rehab program and promote a higher level of physical functioning and community participation for older adults with amputations.

Want to learn more or get involved with our research?