There's no doubt that 3-D printing has led to newfound growth in many industries as its uses continue to expand. The technology has the ability to develop everything from factory components to common household goods, growing its possible applications across new possibilities. The strongest potential of the technology continues to be in the medical and healthcare communities, however.

3-D printed blood vessels
Medical experimentation using 3-D printing has taken new form in recent years, and one of the biggest developments overall has been the growth of bioprinting. In other words, this is the creation of living and natural material using the technology, according to 3-D Print.

Bioprinting, in particular, is working to help find a solution to the fact that, until now, it has been impossible to create blood vessels from scratch. If this breakthrough is achieved, it may be achievable for scientists to develop new organs for human use, which could potentially save lives across the world.

That new change may be much closer than expected. Researchers at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, were recently able to create an agarose fiber template, which could be used as a mold for real blood vessels. This mold would be covered in a gel substance, then reinforced by photocrosslinks. This eventually would lead to a viable blood vessel.

The world is still years away from being able to truly print implantable blood vessels, but these developments will help that future come much sooner.

Scoliosis braces made in makers
Another recent development that may help thousands of people gain customized and comfortable support comes from 3-D printing company 3D Systems, Engineering reported. A recent pilot program for young kids and adults with scoliosis was completed where unique braces were developed for each patient. The personalized brace is custom-fitted to each patient, then digitized to create a digital reference underlay.

The benefits of using 3-D printing for these braces are clear. Once the patient's back is traced and digitized, the brace model can be adjusted and manipulated to meet specific expectations, also using selective laser sintering for peak comfort and flexibility.

In the future, this more comfortable and reliable brace will likely help patients keep it on, as removing the piece of equipment can often lead to a regression in its effectiveness.

Equipment and healthcare industry piece brought to you by Marlin Equipment Finance, leaders in healthcare equipment financing. Marlin is a nationwide provider of equipment financing solutions supporting equipment suppliers and manufacturers in the security, food services, healthcare, information technology, office technology and telecommunications sectors.