How 3D Printed Body Parts Revolutionizing Healthcare
- November 25, 2014
3D printing is playing a major role in the healthcare industry. More and more developments are taking place with this technology which is causing the medical field to grow. As per Grand View Research, by 2020, 3D printing market related to healthcare, will be $1.1 billion. The reason for this surge is that 3D printers are now being used to create different body parts like ears, paraplegics, prosthetic limbs and more. Let us have a look at three of the body parts that have been or are going to be created with 3D printing and will revolutionize healthcare.
3D printers have changed the hearing-aid industry. Companies which are publicly listed like Materialise, have led the way in the creation of 3D printed hearing aids, by teaming up with hearing aid companies.
Now it’s time for 3D printed ears. The first clinical test for the ears created with 3D printing will be carried out in Mumbai, India, for kids who will be undergoing surgery for facial reconstruction. Scientists at the University College in London have created these 3D printed ears and they are believed to have the power to change organ transplants completely.
After a skiing accident in 1992, skier Amanda Boxtel was paralyzed from the waist down. 3D Systems Corporation, a 3D printing company, teamed up with Ekso Bionics Holding to create a robotic 3D-printed suit or exoskeleton for her. The mechanical ability of Ekso Bionics along with the software chips of the 3D printing company helped in creating the suit.
Boxtel’s body was scanned from the waist down and mechanical actuators were added to the design so that it could be worn easily. With accurate detailing, the final suit was created using 3D printing so that the skin could breathe. The result of this wonderful development is that Boxtel can now walk again after 22 long years.
Richard Van As, a South African native who had lost his right hand fingers in a carpentry accident had connected with Ivan Owen from Washington, who had developed mechanical arms, over the Internet. With their collaboration, they started Good Enough Tech and created Robohands. This is the first robotic hand in the world which has been developed using 3D printing.
Makerbot from Stratasys Ltd., loaned them two 3D printers to solve their time and resource problem. With these printers from the Replicator series, the time required to create Robohands was decreased by more than half and as per the website, it was possible for them to help over 200 people globally.
Heart and liver are other two body parts which have been replicated using 3D printing. We can expect that in the coming years, more human body parts can be re-created using this technology and help in the growth of healthcare.
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