In the past few years, 3D printing has undergone constant transformations, with its applications rising almost nonstop in a variety of industries. One of the most prominent has been its adaptations into the world of healthcare, where change has been seen from the mountains of Sudan to the laboratories of England.
The International Digital Times reports that two years after a bomb attack robbed a young Sudanese man, Daniel Omar, of his arms, the innovations of California's Not Impossible Labs have allowed for him to receive prosthetic limbs. What's more, he's now using 3D printing to provide replacement limbs for more amputees in the war-torn country to overcome their injuries.
Not Impossible Labs has gone further, building the first-ever 3D printing prosthetic lab and school to help others learn more about the technology. This lab has a workshop that will train doctors and clinicians to better create prosthetic arms, and it also plans to provide low-cost solutions in the future for users to develop further innovations.
"We're hopeful that other children and adults in other regions of Africa, as well as other continents around the globe, will utilize the power of this new technology for similar beginnings," said the founder of Not Impossible, Mick Ebeling. "We believe Daniel's story will ignite a global campaign. The sharing of the prostheses' specifications, which Not Impossible will provide free and open-source, will enable any person in need, anywhere on the planet, to use technology for its best purpose: restoring humanity."
Heavy reduction of cost
Whereas prosthetics used to cost so much that those in need often couldn't afford them, this project has completely changed that. Local villagers in South Sudan can use these printers to create $100 prosthetics in less than six hours. The 3D-printed limbs do have some limitations, as fingers only have basic functionalities and require attachments to accomplish certain activities. Future innovations are expected to improve these abilities in the near future, however.
Another innovation using the technology has come from England's University of Nottingham, according to Daily Finance. A team of scientists from the school recently found that artificial bones can be printed using the equipment with a polymer and gel-like alginate mixture. After the "bone" is created, the surface is then coated with stem cells, which can form and replenish various tissues and muscles.
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