Automated Digital Process for Higher Orthotics Quality

The intention of the FOOTWORK project is to further automate the digital production process of foot and ankle orthoses to maintain the consistency of product quality and even improve it. To this end, FOOTWORK is employing statistical foot models at each stage of the orthotics development: a world first.

Automation for Consistent Quality

Nearly 200 million Europeans suffer from restrictive foot or ankle pain. Fortunately, orthotics offer pain relief: from orthopedic shoes and insoles to ankle-foot orthoses. The production process of these orthoses is however very labour intensive. It often relies on plaster moulds and manual corrections, or in the best (digital) case scenario on virtual modelling, milling and vacuum forming. Ultimately, the quality of every orthotic device also depends on the technician who makes it. In short: by developing an automated digital process, the FOOTWORK project can strongly increase efficiency and reliability. 

Statistical Foot Models

FOOTWORK aims to further automate the digital development of orthotics and create robust processes for that purpose. This involves using statistical foot models for the first time ever in each development stage. FOOTWORK also brings these innovations together on an online platform that allows retailers, orthopedists and scientists to work jointly on the development of orthotics. 

The use of statistical foot models therefore offers many advantages. The 3D scanning process used for size measurement is considerably improved, which produces a highly accurate foot model for each unique patient. Both the foot type and the kind of physical condition are also automatically and objectively determined. And based on digital measurements, the digital design of the orthotics is fully automated, with consistent quality as the main final selling point.  

The result? Orthotics can be developed on a larger scale, while customer service is faster, more reliable and more user-friendly. And since less material is wasted and the logistics are streamlined, the entire process is even more cost-efficient and environmentally friendly.


"The FOOTWORK project aims to automate the digital orthodics development process by using statistical foot models. This will ensure a higher and more consistent quality level."


Automated Digital Process for Higher Orthotics Quality.


Footwork is an imec.icon research project funded by imec and IWT.

It started on 01.10.2015 and is set to run until 30.09.2017.

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Project information


  • Orthopedie De PrĂȘtre
  • RSPrint
  • RS Scan International


  • imec - PSI-VISICS - KU Leuven
  • imec - Vision Lab - UA


  • Project Lead: Fien Burg
  • Research Lead: Toon Huysmans
  • Innovation Manager: Els Van Bruystegem

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