The EXO prosthetic leg by William Root. (+Interview)

William Root’s work (as always) is Innovative & Inspiring, always coming out with something Fresh, Beautiful & Practical.

One of the fine examples being his BLACKPACK backpack design, which combines both Form & Function. (Read all about it HERE.)

Another one of his outstanding work is EXO Prosthetic leg, which follows the same rule of Form + Function.

We talk to William about the EXO.

 but a Note first : The Difference between Prosthetic and Prosthesis:

Prosthetic is an adjective and can be used like “prosthetic limb” or “prosthetic arm” whereas Prosthesis is a noun and can be used alone with “prostheses” as the plural. It is a very common misunderstanding. – William Root.


Hi Will ! can you please tell us about the design ?

The EXO is a design for a 3D printed prosthetic limb. The idea is to streamline the production process of a prosthesis to make it more affordable and customizable.”

What was the Inspiration behind EXO ?

I was largely inspired by work done at the MIT Biomechatronics lab where they would use similar technology to 3D scan the residual* limb to create more comfortable and easily manufacturable sockets(the interface between the wearer’s body and the prosthetic device). My design essentially applies that process to the entire prosthesis and allows it to match the wearer’s anatomy.”

EXO prosthetic leg by William Root.
EXO prosthetic leg by William Root.

What are you trying to achieve with EXO ? What is the main Objective of EXO ?

The biggest objective is to rethink the way a prosthetic limb is created. The current methods seem quite Outdated and Inefficient.”

How is EXO Different & Stand-up against the Prosthetics that we see today ?

One of the biggest differences is a\Aesthetic. Not only does it match the patient’s form, but it carries a much more appealing look. The goal is to reduce the stigma surrounding missing a limb and perhaps even make Desirable.”

EXO prosthetic leg by William Root.
EXO prosthetic leg by William Root.

The Prostheses that we see today, do help people regain their Function but Not that much, So would the EXO be able to change that ? & Can it increase Functionality ?

I’d say the majority of the improvements in functionality are in the joint mechanisms themselves and thus is also where the majority of cost variation is. 3D printed mechanical joints can be made for as little as $100 while more advanced powered microprocessor joints can cost $20-30,000 plus. The EXO does not include the joint themselves and instead it is the interface between the joints that allows the user to choose the joint that meets the price point and functionality they desire.”

Even though we can’t really compare, but How close would you say EXO is to a Real Leg ?

I don’t know that it would be fair to compare a Prosthetic limb to the missing Leg. I would say, however, that it would allow them to have the form of their leg back so it would fill their clothes appropriately, look more natural and make the wearer feel more whole.”

Can you please Tell us about EXO’s Structure, the Components & How it works.

The EXO is very similar to a traditional prosthesis in functionality, however, replaces the pylons and adjustable components with a 3D printed structure. Thus, it would use the same sort of mechanisms but a different method of connecting them together.”

EXO prosthetic leg by William Root.
Parts of the EXO prosthetic leg.

What are the Materials that would be used in the Manufacturing process ? Any Organic ingredients ?

The current design for the EXO would be 3D printed using titanium, a hypo-allergenic, extremely strong and highly effective 3D printable metal that is often used in medical components. It would be printed using a sintering process by lasering layers of metal particles together and fusing them together in a kiln.”

EXO prosthetic leg by William Root.
EXO prosthetic leg by William Root.

Are you planning to use the 3D Printing technology in the manufacturing ?

Yes, exactly. The primary idea behind the EXO is to use modern technology and 3D printing to streamline the process. The design is dependent on this technology to be manufactured as it could not be produced by other means.”

Would EXO still be possible Without the 3d printing technology ?

“No prosthetic limb is the same and they all must be highly customized so mass production is not an option and it makes 3D printing the perfect technology to use.”

The Process of Manufacturing an EXO *The steps are marked as 1,2 & 3*

Now, since the manufacturing of the EXO is based on 3D Printing tech & computer Modelling. So, is it possible that a person with a 3D Printer & a modeling software can produce it by himself at Home ?

It would be possible, however, it would involve complex software, access to advanced 3D scanners and the ability to 3D print in titanium. While it is feasibly possible, it wouldn’t be accessible to a typical consumer or patient.”

If you could, how would you Describe the ‘EXO’ in one word.

Haha Well, EXO, I suppose. That is where I got the name “EXO” as in like an Exoskeleton for the leg. Unlike traditional Indo-skeletal  prosthesis where there is a bone-like interior structure and should the patient want their form, it is layered around it with foam, the Exo moves the structure to the surface providing the form and support with the same part.

and in a Sentence ?

The EXO bypasses the traditional laborious methods of producing a prosthesis with modern automated technologies making it much more affordable and attractive.”

What about the Cost, would it be Costly ‘cause of the Fact that it will be made different for each individual. Would it be affordable for a Common man ?

It is hard to give a dollar figure for the EXO. Depending on the extent of the amputation and the size of the patient, the cost of 3D printing could vary drastically. The hope is that the cost would be significantly less by removing much of the specialized labor. The majority of the cost would thus just be the cost of the 3D printing and material, which, as 3D printing becomes more pervasive, will only go down.”

EXO prosthetic leg by William Root.
EXO prosthetic leg by William Root.

last but definitely not the least, What Effect do you think EXO will have on the Design & the Prosthetics Industry.

I would hope that this design will show the potential for innovating in the design of prosthetic limbs and the advantages of embracing 3D printing and modern technology it the Prosthetics industry.”

You can find more of William’s work on his :

Official website : (Here).

Behance page : (Here).

You can connect with William on LinkedIN : (Here)


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