Much has been said in the past about the power and potential of 3D printers, but the technology itself continues to evolve and deliver new experiences over time. The latest applications of its use arechanging both third-world accessibility to important medical supplies and bringing sci-fi to the cutting edge of the health care world.
According to TreeHugger, while Haiti is still struggling to come back from the destructive earthquake it suffered in 2010, 3D printing is helping to provide new means for important resources. A project called iLab Haiti is working to bring MakerBot 3D printers to Port-au-Prince to prototype basic medical supplies such as umbilical cord clamps, with the end goal of newfound resourcefulness.
While the products made aren't quite ready for use in the field, future developments are expected to quickly drag the technology to the peak of the market. As of now, iLab Haiti plans to work with companies that own the technology in question, aiming to recycle everyday plastic and turn it into 3D printing filaments. Eventually, locals in the city will be taught how to model newfound medical objects that can help improve the country's medical means.
Cell-based 3D printer developing real items
In addition, as the Consumer Electronics Show is conducted this week, companies are aiming to carve out their own niche markets, and Regenovo plans to be one of the industry's leaders. Instead of building layers of plastic, the company's bio-printers use biological material and living cells to create actual human tissue that facilitates cell growth, organization and differentiation.
Regenovo says it's different from its competitors for three reasons. Not only can it print high-viscosity materials, but the rate of cell damage in its printing process is also low, and its system is additionally suitable for assembly in a sterile environment. While it's currently not known how viable its current products are for use in the human body itself, Regenovo says that its technology can be used to print transplants, though its next goal will be printing artificial livers and kidneys for human transplant. It expects those products to be viable choices in the next 15 to 20 years.
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