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Orthopedic Appliance Takes Grand Prize
May 23rd, 2005
Contact: Leonard Duffy

Len Duffy, founder of Chittenden Research and Development, LLC, has been proclaimed Grand-Prize Winner in the "Create the Future" Design Contest jointly sponsored by Emhart Teknologies and NASA Tech Briefs magazine. Len submitted an idea for a Unitary Orthopedic Appliance (UOA) that can replace orthopedic splints, removable casts, braces and other devices used to protect and support physical injuries.

The patent pending UOA can be fabricated in a variety of shapes tailored to accommodate particular regions of injury, but all shapes are fashioned using a single, novel, and integrally molded, flexible fastening system. The outer surface of this proprietary fastening system consists of a regular array of raised fastening elements, or "islands" which self-align and interlock to provide adjustable support that conforms to the shape of the injured region. The fastening system is easily peeled apart for adjustment or reuse as required without replacement. The accompanying figure shows an example of the UOA that has been shaped to accommodate a wrist injury, but many other shapes and sizes are easy to fabricate.

The relatively open construction of the UOA fastening system avoids snagging hair and lint, and makes the UOA very easy to clean and maintain compared to adhesive tapes, hook-and-loop, webbing-and-buckle and other reinforced fabric based injury support systems. The one-step injection molding process used to make the UOA from thermoplastic material provides a device that is impervious to moisture and staining. When required, the UOA may be shaped for custom fit or function using a secondary thermal forming process.

Len is also cofounder of Over the Edge Products, LLC which developed and manufactures a patent pending house wares product named "Best New Product" at the 2003 New England Product Trade Show.

Len credits InventVermont as a great place to network with other inventors. By networking he has obtained a broad overview of what has worked (and failed) for other inventors in the total invention process. Other Vermont inventors provide encouragement beyond their own diverse interests. Speakers at each monthly meeting of InventVermont present a wide range of ideas and help that would be difficult for individual inventors to find from any other source.

InventVermont wishes continued success to Len in all of his inventive endeavors.

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