Design-led advanced manufacturing of smart orthotics for remote Australia

Project dates: 2021 - Ongoing

CRC-P | Designed-led advanced manufacturing of smart orthotics for remote Australia

The primary aim of this project is to collaborate with remote organisations and SMEs to improve healthcare outcomes through advanced smart manufacturing using human-centred design approaches, co-design and service design methodologies.

Why is this important?

Industry 4.0 technologies played a decisive role in the pandemic response at many companies. COVID-19 posed new challenges for the whole world including industry, which faced a myriad of new problems, from procurement of materials to distribution, to labour restrictions. Technology and digital access have made a difference in maintaining communication and workflows. The application of Industry 4.0 strategies is not only restricted to manufacturing industries, but it is also changing healthcare innovation through implementation of integrated care platforms and the virtualisation of care. One such case is the use of digital technology in Podiatry care during the pandemic to ensure patients access to care and treatment reduction of infections and amputations. However, digital tools have not been applied into preventative and post-operative care for the diabetic foot patient.

This project focuses on improving the supply chain of podiatric footwear for Diabetic Foot Disease (DFD) patients in regional hospitals by involving leading QLD based SMEs specialised in digital manufacturing technologies for footwear components, and by employing a transformative service design approach to develop an enhanced supply chain across regional hospitals, industry, and key stakeholders that allows relevant input from specialists and patients in the prescribed footwear components design, manufacturing and delivery.

Patient compliance with using prescribed footwear is a critical problem within the current service model, with impacts including patients’ unsuccessful recovery and higher risk of amputation. DFD patients typically fail to comply due to long wait times post-surgery in receiving prescribed footwear, and due to footwear being inadequate to the context of their everyday life activities.

The proposed enhanced supply chain would: (i) reduce the waiting time for DFD patients in receiving prescribed footwear components; and (ii) support the production of footwear solutions that are fabricated considering DFD patients’ personal requirements utilising advanced manufacturing workflows.

Project Objectives

  1. To establish a manufacturing service-design pathway that enables an enhanced supply chain supported by advanced manufacturing and delivery of customised podiatric footwear solutions for regional Australian hospitals.
    1. Using a Human Centred Design (HCD) approach, this project will employ a service blueprint approach and experience journey maps to identify end-to-end existing and non-existing touch points to identify the points of connection and disconnection between healthcare and technology that influence the waiting time for regional patients. This combined approach will provide breadth and depth to our understanding of the potential opportunities of new business models. The resulting manufacturing service design pathway will be translated into a Transformative Service Design (TSD) business model. TSD is one that facilitates all stakeholders input in the production and provision of the service.
  1. To develop a design-led model for the customisation of footwear/orthotics solutions that address the needs of health care professionals (e.g., podiatrists) and patients’ personal preferences.
    1. The new TSD business model will include digital tools supporting: (i) a co-design touchpoint at the point of care, a (ii) verification touchpoint at the point of care, and (iii) a final revision at the manufacturer.

For more information about this project, please email:

Funding / Grants

  • Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources: CRC-P Grant (2021 - 2025)