A hiking shoe for a controlled prosthetic foot response. Thanks to an air chamber that acts as a dampener, the user has more control over the foot when walking downhill.

The Graduation project was developed within VanBerlo design agency and executed for Gyromotics

Click here to access the graduation report.

The objective of the project was to give to individuals with lower limb amputations the possibility to hike safely and effortless.

User research
The initial user research enabled me to understand the problems and challenges the user encounters when hiking.
User observation
User tests
Interview with Andrea Lanfri
Andrea Lanfri is a bilateral amputee who succeded climbing Mount Everest in June 2022
Walking downhill
“ The most challenging thing is keeping control over the prosthesis when walking downhill. You do have small support on the heel and you have the feeling you don’t have enough traction. ”
Reliable solutions
“I really like simple and reliable solutions. I do use ossurPro Flex XC for hiking, with a cover and hiking shoes on top of it. I wouldn’t use a microprocessor prosthesis since I know I would break them quickly.”
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When walking on trails, multiple challanges are ecountered, but the most critical is walking downhill. The propulsion genereated by prosthetic foot makes it hard to control it and the user gets tired quickly.

Brain storming at VanBerlo
Virtual ankle
To increase ground contact area.
Two modes spring
To change from dowhil to uphill mode
Pneumatic effect
To slow down the foot response
Bistable mechanism
Combining virtual ankle and the 2 modes concept
Pneumatic effect
Selected concept
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Air chamber
An air chamber is positioned on top of the prosthetic foot and acts as dampener
Standing position
Air chamber is in a compressed position
User lands on the heel
As soon as the heel is loaded, the main blade will open up and the air chamber will do the same
Air pressure
The air entered inside the chamber creates pressure when compressed and slows down the prosthesis from springing back too fast.
Flat terrain mode
By untensioning the wires the air chamber is disactivated and the user can get the max propulsion.
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Work like real prototype
Test with user
“It is dampening! With the other foot I really go over it. Now I feel there is a break” “Walking on flat terrain feels smoother.”
Technical tests
Additional tests were conducted to quantify the dampening effect
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Topology optimization is a mathematical approach based on FEM. Given a set of boundary conditions, the component material layout is distributed only where the stress is concentarted. This approach allows to create lightweight and stiff components.
The ground reaction forces were used as main input.
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A system designed for blood drives non-invasive screening: by guiding safely blood donors through a smooth, hygienic and dynamic experience, it educates and encourages them to become regular donors while reducing the staff’s workload (logistics, assistance, cleaning).

To reach out to a bigger segment of the population, US blood collecting organizations set up what it’s called Blood Drives. They drive to isolated places and set up gyms, hotels, and schools with all the facilities needed to collect blood. Besides the logistic challenges encountered to mount and dismount a blood drive,  the staff needs to follow up with the donors through many different stages. The logistic complexity may slow down the process and therefore reduce the amount of blood collected.

Self-performed screening
One of the first steps consists in screening the donors and evaluating if they are eligible to donate. This phase can be improved by letting the donor self-perform it.
Oasis is a station where the donors self-perform the screening. Thanks to the panels the user have the privacy to conduct the test independently but, at the same time, the asymmetry of the station allows the staff to assist them.
The station will guide the user through the screening phase, which consist of measuring body temperature, blood pressure and hemoglobin rate.
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Optimized flow
By improving the screening flow, the Blood Drive gets optimized and therefore more people can be reached.
Donors experience
The screening, if not passed, might represent a negative experience for the user. The privacy created by the station allows for conducting this phase in a comfortable way.
Donors experience
Based on the initial technology research, non invasive measurement devices were selected.
Infrared sensor
Blood pressure
Welch Allyn BP connector + Reusable / disposable Flexi port cuff
Masimo HB rainbow sensor
Staff workload
The station is setted up in a few steps
Step 1
Open the station
Step 2
The monitor is slided in and snapped to the station
Step 3
The sensors are connected
Step 4
The station is plugged to the electricity.
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A lighter hand-operated tool for rescueing people in emergency situations.

VanBerlo supported ResQtec in the designing of the tools collection. For an internal TopOp masterclass, I used this project as a use case.

Here you can find the TopOp masterclass presentation

ResQtec is a company based in The Netherlands developing a series of tools for rescuing people. These tools are hand-operated, which means that any gram saved brings much better maneuverability.

Topology optimization is a mathematical approach based on FEM analysis and genetic algorithms. By removing materials in areas where there’s no stress, it enables to generate optimal shapes in terms of lightness and stiffness. In addition multiple materials and and munfacturing processes as inputs. 

Recommended output
Based on internal stress, weight and producibility, a 2-axis solution is proposed as the optimal output. It weights 3.2 Kg, which compared to the original component weight (3.7Kg) brings to a weight saving of 1Kg.
Lightweight output
The lightest option, which still satisfies all the requirements, is produced by 3 axis milling on z+- axis and weights only 1.9 kg. By implementing this component it is possible to save up to 3.6 Kg
Informed decisions
Topology optimization can be seen as an additional team member who can be consulted for structural and mechanical decisions
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A 3D printer designed to fit within hospitals.

Thanks to segmentation, MRI or CT scans can be turned into 3D models that can be later printed. This brings to several opportunities: Before the operation, surgeons can observe the physical 3D models to have a better idea on how to proceed in order to minimize possible mistakes or use the models to clearly illustrate the pathology to the patient and how he will be able to lead its surgery, or finally, once the surgery is done, the anatomic model can be kept by the patient or be sent to medical universities in order to turn into an educational tool.  The market lacks hospital-specific FDM printers that address the specificity of the context.

M3Dprint is designed around the build volume, which is based on the body parts measurements and its 340 x 220 x 200 mm. The printer was designed to be as narrow as possible, allowing one to stack them one next to each other on a single table. The front accessibility to the machine facilitates user interaction. 




  • Air quality within the hospital is guaranteed thanks to the HEPA filter positioned on top.
  • The build chamber is covered by a sound-absorbing foam, which makes the machine silent.
  • The build chamber is heated up, ensuring maximum printing quality.
  • The camera allows to track the printing status.


An ecosystem that adapts to the organizations' needs.

Organizations are evolving into more fluid and non-hierarchical structures and there’s a growing need of a an agile and responsive work-place.

Proteo is a modular ecosystem composed of a table, a space division element, and a charger column. These three together allow to create different types of configurations that facilitate every type of work, from circular setup to the focus area. 

The light positioned over the table follows the user at any moment of the day giving the possibility to configure it in reading, focus pr collaborative mode.

Proteo enables freedom in configuring spaces following the needs of teal organizations.