4/3/2015

3D Printing and the Promise of Custom Fit

Can additive processes be used to customize wearable products to give a perfect fit to each individual? It works for ear buds….

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On a trip to buy new shoes several years ago, I lucked into getting what proved to be the best-fitting pair of shoes I’ve ever owned. I wish I had bought two pair. The shoes are wearing out now, and the company that made them has long since abandoned this shoe design that proved to fit so well to my (apparently distinctive) foot geometry.

I don’t know how long it will be until 3D printing solves this problem for me, in the form of some company able to generate economical custom shoes tailored to individual feet. But news from EOS describes a step in that direction. For elite runners, shoe maker New Balance collects biometric data to design runner-specific shoe spike plates that are produced through 3D printing.

For ear buds, at least, the challenge of achieving custom fit has been solved. Read how this company can use 3D printing to tailor a pair of ear buds to the unique shape of your ear.

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