While 3-D printing technology has been around for years now, its uses are only growing in a number of different industries. One of the most important is healthcare. Many doctors and medical researchers continue to develop new and better ways to treat patients thanks to new innovations with the technology.
According to CNN, a company based in the United Kingdom has been able to use 3-D printers to create as many as 150 prosthetic eyes per hour. This is expected to provide a sharp decline in the cost of making these products. Each batch allows for the manufacturing process to speed up, and each eye is printed with slight variations in color in recognition of product aesthetics.
At Wake Forest's School of Medicine, scientists are working to perfect a printer that can place skin directly onto the wounds of burn victims. A base skin fabric is created using enzymes and collagen, which is then layered with tissue and skin cells to form a skin graft. What's more, the technology is being processed for portable printers as well, which can print skin directly onto wounds in a number of different remote or war-torn settings. Using cameras and skin modeling, the researchers can even ensure the printed skin matches the tone, texture and color of the patient receiving care.
Reducing blood consumption during surgery
Engineering.com added that a new piece of technology is meant to help reduce the amount of donated blood a patient receives during major surgeries, helping to conserve the vital resource. The new 3-D-printed technology is called the Hemosep. Using a chemical sponge and a mechanical agitator, it can concentrate blood removed from a surgical site, process it to confirm its safety, then use a transfusion to return the blood to its owner.
The Hemosep itself was created using 3-D printing, which allowed for engineers to dramatically cut its cost and development times by building in-house iterations. Total prototype costs were reduced by as much as 96 percent, saving hundreds of thousands and allowing for a product that can hit the market much faster than average devices. With its potential to save lives, the machine represents the future of 3-D printing developments.
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