Titanium fingertips. A chin shield. Elbow spikes. An inlay across the bridge of your nose to hold lasers manipulated by your eye. Yes, you’ve dreamt about such things in the waning hours of the morning. Now you can design them and have them made.

Max Barry’s book Machine Man, a real-time serial about a man who loses a leg, decides to make a better one and ultimately “gadgetifies” himself, is the inspiration for a the Human Augmentation design challenge from iMaterialise. You make it, they print it, you embed it into your body… if you’re so inclined. Here’s what to do…

Together with Sci Fi author Max Barry, bio robotics researcher Hod Lipson and 3D printed prosthesis designer Scott Summit we’re holding a challenge to find an inspiring 3D printed human implant. We want to explore how people will in the future turn to 3D printing to make implants themselves that make them look better or improve some human functionality.

What to Design:
A design for an implant or prosthetic device meant to improve the human body in some way. We are interested in functional implants as well as purely esthetic devices. The final object should be functional as is. It should not require any additional electronics or non 3D printed parts. Any submissions to the Design Challenge gallery will be done in a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike (CC BY-SA) license.

Size: No more than 4 cubic centimeters (.25 cubic inches) volume
Thickness: Wall thickness of less than 0.4mm (.016 inches)
Print: 3D printable in titanium. (titanium printing rules)

How to submit:


  • Most inspiring and most well designed implant or prosthetic device.
  • Add or improve functionality or deliver aesthetic pleasure to the wearer.
  • Takes advantage of 3D printing technology and be a useable implant.
  • Should inspire discussion on the implications of 3D printing in the world.


  • A titanium 3D print your design. (The cost of each 3D print is anywhere from $100 to several thousand dollars depending on size and shape. )
  • Each judge will also receive a 3D print of your device in titanium.
  • Each judge will use your device as an example during speaking engagements and interviews pertaining to the subject.
  • Max Barry will use your 3D printed design during his book tour and the promotion of the Machine Man film.

Complete info here.

Man & Machine: Illustration by Joe Granski


Josh is founder and editor at SolidSmack.com, founder at Aimsift Inc., and co-founder of EvD Media. He is involved in engineering, design, visualization, the technology making it happen, and the content developed around it. He is a SolidWorks Certified Professional and excels at falling awkwardly.