By now, millions of people know about the innovations and improvements that 3-D printing has brought to countless communities, namely its vast changes in the healthcare industry. As time goes on, these advances have only become more notable and impressive, driving industry interest more than ever.
Cost of prosthetics drops
According to 3-D Print, one of the latest breakthroughs of 3-D printers in the medical world is that they have vastly lowered the cost of the average prosthetic. One example of their benefits are for prosthetics like hands, which can cost more than $50,000, making them very cost-prohibitive for people who need them.
A number of volunteers have formed the group e-NABLE to find alternative ways to make these prosthetics, hoping to improve their accessibility especially for children, who often outgrow the expensive equipment quickly and need new prosthetics. The latest creations from e-NABLE have reduced the average cost of prosthetic hands and other prosthetics to just $50.
More impressive is that these prosthetic hands are fully functional, giving their users absolute mobility. One doctor, known for his work in advanced prosthetic technology, was reported to exclaim that these advances were some of the most impressive he's ever seen in the field.
Developing new books for blind children
A lesser-known, but still notable, problem in the healthcare world regards the education of children with limited sight, Mashable reported. Without visual knowledge of many topics covered in children's books, these patients may not be able to benefit from being read to as much as others.
Researchers at the University of Colorado are aiming to change that. Their new Tactile Picture Book Project has began to develop models of various childhood favorites into physical forms, helping children with impaired vision learn much earlier than previously observed. Many blind children don't begin to read Braille until they're about six years old, but these books will let them get an idea of many stories' focal points, giving them raised illustrations to touch and feel while the stories themselves are read aloud.
"It is one more opportunity for visually-impaired children to experience literacy in an expanded way," Alice Applebaum, the director of the Anchor Center in Denver aimed at helping educate visually-impaired children, told Mashable. "Will it make them better readers? Not necessarily, but it will make them more aware of what the world looks like."
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