In this MEDICA.de interview, Dr. Julie Kux talks about the current state of research pertaining to the finger orthosis, explains what makes it so different from similar devices and reveals the next steps of the project.
Dr. Kux, how did you come up with the idea for the orthosis?
Dr. Julie Kux: Our teammate Miguel Bravo started us off when he developed algorithms as part of his bachelor’s thesis. This provided the framework for the customized finger orthosis calculation. From an early age, he was interested in the anatomy and complexity of the human hand. It prompted him to transfer to the ArtLab of the University Medical Center Göttingen (UMG) to join the many experts and scientists on location who specialize in the hand structure. As an exchange student in the master’s program, his goal was to expand on the idea with the help of the respective subject-matter experts. This gradually evolved into the project and the subsequent University spin-of named 3Digity.
What makes your orthosis different from similar devices?
Kux: We want to design custom dynamic orthoses that are the perfect fit for the patient’s finger and the type of injury. Orthoses are typically mass-produced and thus not custom-fitted. Many orthoses only target individual finger joints, but 3D printing enables us to make custom-fit orthotics. This allows us to fit the entire finger with a dynamic orthosis and focus on full joint mobilization.
How does the orthosis support hand therapy and rehabilitation?
Kux: The finger orthosis can be immediately used at home, allowing patients to start rehabilitation soon after an injury or surgery. When it comes to finger injuries, early mobilization is crucial for a quick and full recovery. Our hands and fingers are our most important tools, making mobility of the finger joints incredibly important. What’s more, when subject to immobilization, our finger anatomy exhibits a tendency to adhesion formation.