There's been a lot of recent advances in 3D printing, but the technology has long enjoyed a niche in medical and dental applications.
For years, dental labs have leveraged CAD and 3D printing technologies to improve the quality and precision of dental parts such as crowns, bridges, and a range of orthodontic appliances. New materials like Objet's biocompatible transparent offering and 3D Systems' Accura e-Stone are opening up new possibilities and bringing down costs. On the heels of this success, medical providers are following suit, diving into the exploration of 3D print technologies for producing everything from custom prosthetics to hearing aids.
There's even research at play to push 3D printing technology into novel areas. For example, researchers are exploring ways to use 3D printers to create human organs and tissues and serve as home dispensers for outputting drug prescriptions.
Click on the image below to see how 3D printing is fast becoming a medical Rx.
Medical device makers are leveraging 3D printers to model internal organs and other human parts to help guide physicians through complex procedures. In one example, CAD models based on CT scan data are created and then output through 3D printers such as Stratasys's uPrint SE model. (Source: Stratasys)
That was pretty amazing, Rob. It was done a while ago and the technology has advanced so far even since then. From what I can see, medical applications are a huge area for 3D printing, both historically and going forward.
Impressive slide show, Beth. This is a whiole world of medical 3D I wasn't aware of. I found it particualarly interesting that 3D printing would be used to help surgeons figure out how to separate co-joined twins. Amazing.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.