Today, the Bionic Woman can just go ahead and print her own parts

TED Blog

David Sengeh tinkers with his design for a 3D-printed prosthetic socket. Photo: Allegra Boverman. David Sengeh tinkers with his design for a 3D-printed prosthetic socket. Photo: Allegra Boverman.

A persistent sight in David Sengeh‘s childhood, growing up in Sierra Leone: amputees. Losing a limb was an all-too-common fact in the civil-war-torn region. But as if the loss of a limb weren’t enough, the aftermath was almost worse, Sengeh saw, as he watched family members and friends struggle with ill-fitting, uncomfortable prosthetics that hurt too much to wear.

Here, the 2014 TED Fellow, now studying at the MIT Media Lab, talks about his idea of redesigning the socket that connects an artificial limb to a human body — and his dream of creating custom-designed, low-cost, comfortable sockets that 3D printing technology could make accessible to anyone, anywhere. An edited transcript of our conversation follows.

You’ve chosen to work on one of the major after-effects of war and help those who have lost limbs regain…

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