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Custom 3D-printed Children’s Helmet Makes Riding a Horse Pure Joy

Imogen has spent most of her life thus far in a wheelchair or sitting down.  No hide-and-seek with friends.  No jumping rope with girlfriends.  Born 11 weeks early with spastic diplegia, a form of cerebral palsy, Imogen can’t run and play with other children.  But, Imogen CAN ride a horse.  So, riding horses has provided her with great joy, yet because she was also born with hydrocephaly, an excessive swelling of the brain, her head is wider than normal, which means she could never find a riding helmet that fit correctly.

Frustratingly, every helmet she wore was either too big and would drop down over her eyes during riding, or was too small and uncomfortable. Her mother had to wedge a piece of material in under a larger helmet to keep it from moving around, but after a short while Imogen would have an ever-increasing headache.

Despite being unable to find a comfortable riding helmet, Imogen’s love and dedication for the sport grew into her taking part and starting to excel in dressage riding, which made it all the more important for her to find a correct fitting helmet. Horse riding is a risky activity, with the emergency room admission rate for injured riders being up to 400% higher than those of motorcycle riding, football, and skiing.

After exhausting all options, Imogen’s mother, Catherine, turned to Cerebra. A charity known throughout the UK for creating custom products for children with additional needs. Located within the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, Cerebra Innovation Centre (CIC) is a 100% donation-funded organization that develops highly functional, innovative, and fun products that not only put children back in the game of life, but are also so attractive that quite often other children who see them on the playground or at school begin asking their parents if they can have the same.

The design engineers at Cerebra Innovation Centre have already made several custom helmets for children with hydrocephaly. Dr. Ross Head explained how it all began. “The very first process was using the Artec Eva scanner, once I saw what it could do, my mind began percolating with ideas on how we could make use of it in our work, and that’s when it hit me! The idea of using it to make bespoke helmets.”

Ross Head was first introduced to the Artec Eva by Ian Walsh, director of ATiC (Assistive Technologies Innovation Centre) and their team of innovators. Prior to this, ATiC consulted with the 3D scanning specialists at Artec’s Gold-Certified Reseller Central Scanning, and it was during a presentation of Artec’s scanners when ATiC understood that Eva would be an invaluable addition to their tool chest.

ATiC is an integrated research center, putting user-centered design thinking and strategic innovation tools into practice with a strong emphasis on collaboration within Health and Wellbeing.

ATiC utilizes a range of reality capture technologies such as 3D scanning, biomechanics and eye tracking. Along with a range of advanced prototyping facilities, such as state-of-the-art 3D printers. ATiC also supports and helps many other charities and organizations by innovating new products, services, and systems across the health and wellbeing sectors.

The ATiC team has so far collaborated with Ross at Cerebra, providing 3D scanning using Artec Eva, innovating the development of Imogen’s helmet. This collaboration will hopefully be the first of many, as both ATiC and Cerebra aim to develop and innovate the design and manufacture process even further.

The Artec Eva is a lightweight 3D scanner that uses 100% safe structured white light and scans quickly, requiring children to hold still for less than one minute. The 3D scan appears in real time on the screen in Artec Studio, the scanner’s software. Scans are then processed and exported off to CAD software prior to 3D printing. Once in CAD software, an offset of the child’s head is created, which allows the exact dimensions for creating a precise 3D model that will in turn be made into a perfectly-fitting helmet.

Click here to read more about how the Artec Eva was used to create the perfect riding helmet for Imogen.

Have a question about 3D scanning and how it can help solve your problem?  Click Here and an expert from The SolidExperts will be happy to assist you.

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