Will 3D printing work on fitness gear?

http://www.shape.com/lifestyle/workout-clothes-gear/will-3d-printing-work-fitness-gear

Will 3D Printing Work on Fitness Gear?

Will 3D Printing Work on Fitness Gear?

The perfect sneakers, custom leggings—we asked an expert if the 3D printing technology trend could really change the fitness world.

Of all the crazy new advances in tech—new wearable technology that helps you break bad habits, computers you wear on your wrist (hello,Apple watch), even sportsbras that combine wearable tech and fitness gear—hearing about 3D-printed wellness gadgets are one of those things that makes us feel like we’re living in the future. You’re telling me that you can use a printer to make actual, physical objects? It sounds like something straight out of sci-fi.

And while hearing about 3Dprinted houses and makeup is cool, what we’re most interested in is how the new technology will change fitness. Imagine a world where you could 3D print the perfect pair of running shoes, custom molded to your foot, for example.

In fact, Nike, Brooks, and New Balance have all already dabbled in 3D-printed athletic shoes. And custom-printed shoe insoles will soon be on the market: SOLS ($125, sols.com) has you take measurements of your feet using their app, then prints you insoles in any one of a number of fabrics (leather for work shoes, something sweat-wicking for sneakers). Plus, they’re, a fraction of the cost of many orthotics. (Whether you wear insoles or not, you should definitely be stretching your feet post-workout.)

But footwear isn’t the only thing that can benefit from 3D printing. EXO-L is a company that’s creating custom-made ankle braces, designed to keep athletes safer on the field or court. Other companies are offering molded-to-you mouth guards. You can even buy specially fitted, never-slip-out-again headphones ($200, nrml.com). All these products use 3D printing technology for ultra-customized end products. The benefits go way beyond personal comfort, though: 3D printing enables doctors to create comfortable, affordable prosthetics for people missing limbs too. (Check out Team Unlimbited’s e-NABLE blog for more information.)

“3D-printed fitness gear has some serious pros, the most obvious of which is customization,” says Pieter Strikwerda, the co-CEO and founder of 3DPrinting.com. “But also it requires less production time from the idea to the finished product.”

Still, can 3D printed products really stand up to traditionally-made gear, especially higher-end products? Strikwerda says yes. “Printing techniques are getting better every day, and so are the materials being used,” he says. “Look at NASA—they’re using printing techniques to print metal parts for their engines, not only because it’s lighter and more efficient but also because those parts are stronger.” (This fitness equipment just looks like science fiction.)

That said, cautions Strikwerda, “the whole process of 3D modeling and scanning, choosing the right material, and so on is still really complex. It’s not a plug-and-play machine yet.” So we’re not quite at the point where we’ll be able to print out a spare pair of running shoes or fit-like-a-glove leggings from the comfort of our own homes. But until we get there, at least we can finally get our hands on ear buds that won’t slip out during our workout, and insoles that make our run feel better without breaking the bank. That feels pretty futuristic to us.

shape.com

by  | Aug 31, 2015

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3D printed brain?

http://3dprint.com/92071/your-brain-on-3d-printing/

You can 3D print your own brain.

This Is Your Brain On 3D Printing

If you’ve been through the experience of having a complete MRI brain scan, and you’re not squeamish about such things, you might be interested in building a scale model 3D print of your brain itself.

That MRI scan data means you now have the option to print your brain.

meshlab brain scan file

As for that MRI scan, you’ll need the sort of scan free of surrounding structures, and a radiologist can create a range of scans and analysis for the various elements of tissues.

Why you’d do this without significant motivation is anyone’s guess, but author and editor Richard Baguley went that route. He says once you request DICOM data of your brain, it’s possible to ask for a CD which includes the various scans, or failing that, go straight to your doctor to make the request–as the patient, it’s within your purview to ask for these files.

DICOM, or Digital Images and Communications in Medicine, data represents an open format which can be utilized by a range of medical systems.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging itself is amazing technology which uses a powerful magnetic field to react with the atoms of the human body to create a radio signal, and by shaping the resulting magnetic field, the MRI can map and capture the structure of the brain and its varying tissues and blood vessels.

Image 807

Baguley says converting the images for 3D printing can be done via a host of free and open source software such as Slicerweb, Osirix, 3DSlicer and Invesialus. He uses InVesalius in his tutorial, finding it the most simple package to take on the task.

His step-by-step description of the process results in an .STL file, but he says there’s a bit of work left to be done after that. He uses MeshLab to clean up model up prepare for printing.

Brain Scan 3D Print

Ultimately, Baguley printed out his version of his brain via Cura and a Lulzbot TAZ 5 printer.

“I was quite pleased with how my print turned out. The convoluted texture of my grey matter was well captured and printed on the top of the brain, but the similar texture on the side wasn’t quite as clear,” Baguley says of the finished article. “That’s probably because of the way the scan was processed. I could get more detail on the side by using other scans and combining the results.”

He adds that with a satisfactory 3D model complete, he may well print it in a flexible plastic or laser-cut it from wood to produce an interesting ornament…because what do you really do with a 3D printed brain?

“Now I have the 3D model, the possibilities are endless. I could print it in flexible plastic to give my cats an amusing toy,” Baguley suggests cheekily. “I could laser-cut it out in wood to produce an interesting ornament. Or I could do a small print to have available the next time someone asks to speak to the brains of this organization….”

Baguley has been writing about technology for more than 20 years and his credits include work in Wired, Macworld, USA Today and Reviewed.com. You can read the exceptionally detailed documentation Baguley created for his Brain Printing Project here on Hackaday.

brain

3dprint.com

by  | AUGUST 28, 2015

Objects that couldn’t be made before 3D printers existed!

http://gizmodo.com/objects-that-couldnt-be-made-before-3d-printers-existed-1718072112

Objects That Couldn't Be Made Before 3D Printers Existed

Objects That Couldn’t Be Made Before 3D Printers Existed

3D printing isn’t just for making unique stuffed animals or weird fake meat. It allows us to fabricate objects we never could with traditional manufacturing. Here are some of the incredible things we can print now, which were nearly impossible to make before.

Personalized Car Parts

3D printing can make car parts that are custom-built for the driver’s body and comfort: an ergonomic steering wheel, for example. Last month, Fortune reported Ford’s partnership with California-based 3D printing company Carbon3D. The automakers themselves can benefit from 3D printed parts, too. Instead of the ol’ Ford assembly line, engineers can make manufacturing and design more iterative with 3D printed materials, since prototyping suddenly becomes faster and cheaper and testing becomes more frequent and thorough.

You see, many products—from drinking cups to video game consoles to car parts—are created in a process called “injection molding.” That’s when a material, like glass or metal or plastic, is poured into a mold that forms the product. But with 3D printing, you can design a crazy object on your computer, and it can be turned into reality.

“3D printing bridges the gap between the digital and the physical world,” says Jonathan Jaglom, CEO of 3D printer manufacturer MakerBot, “and lets you design pretty much anything in digital form and then instantly turn it into a physical object.”

Objects That Couldn't Be Made Before 3D Printers Existed

Lighter Airplanes

There have been lots of materials used to make planes lighter, and thus more fuel efficient and greener. But 3D-printed materials can cut weight by up to 55%, according to Airbus, which announced its involvement with 3D printing last year.

In February, Australian researchers unveiled the first 3D-printed jet engine in the world.

Objects That Couldn't Be Made Before 3D Printers Existed

3D-printed polymers often have “high strength to weight ratios,” says Kristine Relja, marketing manager at Carbon3D, the same company that’s working with Ford on the 3D-printed car parts. 3D-printed plane parts use that strength-to-weight ratio to their advantage. It gives them an edge over traditional materials, like the aluminum often found in seat frames.

“If the arm rest of each seat of a plane were replaced with a high strength to weight ratio part, the overall weight of the plane would drop, increasing fuel efficiency and lowering the overall cost of the plane,” Relja says.

Objects That Couldn't Be Made Before 3D Printers Existed

Detailed Molds of Your Jaw

Possibly the arena 3D printing handedly dominates is personal health. Our bodies are unbelievably individualized, idiosyncratic flesh bags filled with biological items uniquely shaped to each person. Since customization is so critical, especially in surgical implants, 3D printing can really shine here.

Objects That Couldn't Be Made Before 3D Printers Existed

Let’s start with dental trays: Those molds of your chompers that’re made with gross cement stuff that you have to leave in your mouth for minutes on end. They’re useful because they can help dentists and orthodontists create appliances like retainers or braces, and can give them a three dimensional, kinesthetic mold of your mouth.

Over at Stratasys, the 3D printing company that owns MakerBot, 3D-printed dental trays are going from CAD file to model, blazing trails in orthodontics. It gives orthodontists and dentists a cheap, accurate glimpse into a patient’s maw. It’s way easier than those nasty physical impressions with the cement, and way less gag-inducing.

Customized Surgical Stents

Stents are those little tubes surgeons stick in the hollow parts of your body—a blood vessel or artery, say—to hold it open and allow it to function properly. Usually, they’re mesh, but stents that are 3D-printed can have an edge, since they’re able to be customized more and are made with cheaper, flexible polymers that can dissolve safely into the bloodstream in a couple years.

At the Children’s Hospital of Michigan in the Detroit Medical Center, a 17-year-old girl was suffering from an aortic aneurysm, a potentially fatal heart condition that was discovered with a precautionary EKG. That’s when Dr. Daisuke Kobayashi and his team turned to 3D printing. A 3D printed model of her heart allowed the doctors to know exactly where to put stents in an otherwise delicate operation for a young patient.

In other cases, the surgical stents themselves are 3D printed: University of Michigan doctors have also implanted 3D-printed stents just above infant boys’ lungs to open their airways help them breathe normally on their own. The advantage of using 3D printing here is that doctors were able to create custom stents that could fit the kids’ individual anatomies, quickly and cheaply.

Objects That Couldn't Be Made Before 3D Printers Existed

Buckyballs

No, not the tiny magnetic choking hazards. We’re talking about models of Buckminsterfullerene, the molecule. It’s every chemistry teacher’s dream. 3D printers can produce tangible, big models of molecules. And they’re accurate, too. This type of complex geometry is really hard to pull off with injection molding. The closest thing we had before was basically popsicle sticks and Elmer’s.

3D printing not only helps us learn more about what molecules look like by making lifesized models of them—it also helps us make actual molecules. Earlier this year, Dr. Martin Burke at the University of Illinois led the construction of a “molecule-making machine”: It’s a machine that synthesizes small, organic molecules by welding over 200 pre-made “building blocks” and then 3D printing billions of organic compound combinations. This could “revolutionize organic chemistry,” the paper in the journal Science reported, significantly speeding up the process to test new drugs.

What’s cool about 3D printing is that it makes ambitiously designed objects way more feasible. Specifically, 3D printing can make those “complex geometries” that injection molding can’t: That is, stuff that’s in obscure shapes, like long twisty mobius strips or zillion-sided polygons.

Replacement Parts for Your Organs

3D printing can be used to make surgically-implanted hardware that protects or supports damaged organs. This could lead the way to custom repairs for damaged tracheas or windpipes, for instance. Sometimes part of a windpipe needs to be removed, but the two remaining ends need to be joined together—if they can’t be joined together, the patient may die.

3D bioprinting to the rescue! It can replicate the mechanical properties of the trachea. That’s right: a living, biological tracheal replacement can be made from a mix of 3D printing and tissue engineering. That’s what the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research did. They modified a 3D printer to use a syringe filled with living cells that produce collagen and cartilage. Within hours, bioengineered tracheas can be created on-the-spot quickly and cheaply. And that’s a key strength for 3D printing: fast prototypes.

Objects That Couldn't Be Made Before 3D Printers Existed

Organs and Bones

The most futuristic use of for these magical printers? They could, one day, create internal organs. That’s a literal lifesaver for folks who need an organ transplant. Also possibly available: eyes, blood vessels, noses, ears, skin, and bones. Even hearts.

Objects That Couldn't Be Made Before 3D Printers Existed

And this isn’t just science fiction. In 2013, medical company Organovo started selling 3D-printed liver tissue. It’ll be a while before a fully functioning liver can be printed, but it’s a big step in the right direction, even if it just means prototypes and experimental liver-like structures.

As if that wasn’t incredible enough, we can also create replicas of people’s existing internal organs. With the help of CT scan data, docs can whip up three dimensional, touchable copies of individuals’ guts, in all their nuanced, unique glory. This can help medical professionals better find tumors or other irregularities. (Not to mention it could possibly take the gross awesomeness out of biology class dissections.)

And already, companies are creating cheap, 3D-printed prosthetic limbs for kids. A whole generation is growing up with 3D printing — not just as a toy, but a vital part of their bodies.

Objects That Couldn't Be Made Before 3D Printers Existed

gizmodo.com

by Bryan Lufkin | 8/11/15 4:34pm

First drug made by a 3D printer

http://qz.com/471030/the-fda-has-approved-the-first-drug-made-by-a-3d-printer/

The FDA has approved the first drug made by a 3D printer

3D printing, a technology still in search of a market, may have just found a home in the world of medicine. The US Food and Drug Administration approved an epilepsy medicine called Spritam that is made by 3D printers, making it the first 3D-printed product that the FDA has approved for use inside the human body.

Aprecia, the pharmaceutical company behind Spritam, says that its new type of tablet is made by 3D-printing layers of the powdered drug, binding the layers of powder together, and then blowing away the excess powder. The drug’s unique structure allows it to dissolve considerably faster than the average pill, which as the news site 3DPrint points out is a boon to seizure sufferers who often are prescribed large, hard-to-swallow pills. Aprecia also says 3D printing will allow doctors to know that the medicine they’re prescribing delivers the exact dose intended, as each pill will be completely uniform.

This could prove to be an important step for integrating 3D printing more deeply into the US health system. Doctors in the US already use a government-sponsored 3D-printing repository to share tool designs to aid in surgeries and treatments; now scientists are working on 3D-printed tracheas and bones, as well as ears, kidneys and skin—which could one day help cover the massive shortage in donor organs.

While the quick-dissolving Spritam tablet is a world away from 3D-printed organs and body parts, its approval shows that the FDA thinks certain 3D-printed materials are safe for human consumption.

Rather like 3D printing itself, this drug could be the base layer the technology slowly builds upon, perhaps generating future medical innovations.

qz.com

by Mike Murphy | August 03, 2015

3D printed models for kids’ operations

http://www.engadget.com/2015/08/01/boston-childrens-hospital-3d-printing/

Surgeons practice on 3D-printed models for kids’ operations

Surgeons at Boston Children’s Hospital started using 3D-printed copies of patients’ affected body parts to prepare for procedures last year. Now, that move has helped save the lives of four children aged two months to 16 years old who suffered from life-threatening blood vessel malformation in their brains. Their condition gave ride to distinctive anatomies that one of the hospital’s neurosurgeon, Edward Smith, said were really tricky to operate on. So, the doctors used a combination of 3D printing and synthetic resins to conjure up copies of the kids’ deformed vessels, along with nearby normal counterparts and surrounding brain anatomy. That gave them the chance to practice extensively beforehand and reduce possible complications on the operating table.

Smith said the models allowed them to “view [the formations] from different angles, practice the operation with real instruments and get tactile feedback.” It was especially beneficial for three of the four patients, as they had arteriovenous malformations (AVMs) — their arteries and veins were all tangled up – that required the surgeons to cut blood vessels as quickly as possible, and in a certain sequence. Thanks to their preparations, the surgeons managed to fix the kids’ distorted blood vessels and cut surgery time by 30 minutes each. Smith and his colleague Darren Orbach now plan to use 3D printing to train younger doctors and for even trickier cases in the future.

engadget.com

by Mariella Moon | August 1st 2015 At 3:33am

New face for a girl thanks of 3D printing

http://www.cbc.ca/news/health/3d-printing-helps-give-girl-a-new-face-1.3014957

Violet Pietrok, playing with her father Matt, was born two years ago with a Tessier cleft, a rare deformity in which the bones that form the face have not fused properly. Thanks to 3D printing of models of her skull, Violet has begun a series of surgeries to correct the problem.

3D printing helps give girl a new face

Doctors practise on an exact image of face before repairing deformity.

The great thing about medical school cadavers is that they can’t die.

If a surgeon in training makes a mistake, there’s always next time. It is the last environment where medical errors have no consequences.

But 3D printing is changing that, giving even experienced operating room teams valuable practice on a model that looks and feels like the real thing. It has life-saving and life-altering implications.

Violet Pietrok was born two years ago with a rare deformity called a Tessier cleft. The bones that normally join to form the fetal face had not fused properly.

  • Watch David Common’s full story on The National Sunday April 5 at 9 p.m.

As a result, Violet’s eyes were set so far apart, her vision was more like a bird’s than a human’s. She also had no cartilage in her nose.

But the corrective operation is extraordinarily complex. So Violet’s family turned to one of the world’s leading reconstructive surgeons, Dr. John Meara, at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Violet Pietrok

He warned them of the danger of making sophisticated cuts through the skull, very close to the optic nerve. “They might be very close to the brain,” Meara explained in an interview. “So the ability to make these cuts on the model first and see the trajectory of a sawblade or where that cut would come through in relationship to the eye is absolutely critical.”

To get that model, the simulation team at Boston Children’s took multiple MRIs of Violet’s skull and replicated it on a 3D printer.

It took more than a day to print, but the model is exact. Even the density of the bone is precise.

 “We were actually able to do the procedure before going into the operating room,” Meara said.

“So we made the cuts in the model, made the bony movements that we would be making in Violet’s case and we identified some issues that we modified prior to going into the operating room, which saves time and means that you’re not making some of these critical decisions in the operating room.”

During the surgery earlier this year, Meara kept a model of Violet’s skull close by and referred to it as he went through the complicated steps of the operation. This successful surgery was just the first of several that will be needed to remake Violet’s face.

Other hospitals are interested

Boston’s success has prompted a lot of calls from hospitals around the world looking to set up their own 3D printing simulations to Dr. PeterWeinstock, who runs the Boston program.

He equates medicine with sports teams. Any team worth its salt, he says, practises before the game.

“We looked at that and thought, why is health care not doing that?  If you can see the patient before you see the patient, if you can do the operation before you do the operation, you have the opportunity to tailor your approach, to tailor your team to the specific environment and event. Think about that opportunity.”

Weinstock’s printer now runs 24/7 preparing for procedures at Boston Children’s — well worth the $400,000 investment.

The models are game-changing — giving a whole new meaning to personalized medicine. With each new print, the models are getting more sophisticated. Soon, the replicated veins and arteries will bleed as they would in real-life.

Boston Children’s has also found better recovery times. Patients of surgeons who’ve practised on the models typically leave hospital sooner and get back on their feet more easily.

Weinstock’s simulation program really took off a few years ago with Surgical Sam, the world’s first operable infant mannequin.

A model of an individual

But Weinstock wanted not just a model of generic human but one of a specific person.

That’s also what Adam Stedman needed. Adam was born witharteriovenous malformation or AVM, a tangled mess of arteries and veins in the brain that restricts blood flow and prompts progressively worse seizures that can cause brain damage.

He could have had a stroke at any moment, or a hemorrhage, his mother Amy tearily explained. But surgically tackling the web of tubes inside Adam’s brain was also potentially deadly, or it could leave him blind.

The 3D printer re-created Adam’s brain — including the AVM — something his surgeon could hold, manipulate, examine, re-examine and ultimately, practice on.

The surgery was a success — taking only a third of the expected time because the entire operating room team had done it before just hours earlier on the practice model.

When Adam came out of the OR, he smiled and his mother broke down. “He just has a blind spot,” she said in an interview in her Connecticut home. To her, that’s a big improvement.

“I honestly think that the 3D printing has the majority to do with that, as far as where they knew, where to cut and where not to.”

cbc.ca

by David Common, CBC News | Apr 04, 2015 5:00 AM ET

3D printed windpipe

A Very Merry Christmas to this Brave Child, Who Can Live a Normal Life Thanks to a 3D Printed Windpipe

http://goo.gl/xHEpm4

Jake and Natalie Peterson and their son Garrett in October 2014.

Garrett Peterson was born in 2012 with a defective windpipe. It would periodically just collapse, because the cartilage was so soft, and he’d stop breathing. This would happen every day — sometimes multiple times a day.

“It was really awful to have to watch him go through his episodes,” says his father, Jake Peterson of Layton, Utah. “He’d be fine and then all of a sudden start turning blue. It was just like watching your child suffocate over and over again.”

It was so bad that Garrett couldn’t leave the hospital; he spent more than a year in intensive care. This time last year, doctors weren’t sure how much longer they could keep him alive.

“Garrett was so sick in the hospital and we — we really, really thought we were going to lose him,” remembers his mother, Natalie Peterson. “The doctors were telling us, you know, that there really wasn’t anything more they could do.”

Then the Petersons heard about some doctors at the University of Michigan who were using 3-D printers to custom-make tiny devices they call “splints” to prop open defective windpipes for babies like Garrett. The Petersons rushed their son to Ann Arbor.

When Shots first reported this story back in March, Garrett had just gotten his splint, and it seemed to be working really well. But at that point, he was still in the hospital.

Two weeks later, he was finally able to leave the hospital for the first time in his life.

Since getting home, Garrett has still needed some help, especially at night, his parents say. But he’s getting better every day.

“He can breathe — like, on his own completely,” says Natalie Peterson. “It’s so nice just to hear him breathe … to be able to hear him take big deep breaths and things that we never knew he’d be able to do.”

Other physical problems Garrett was having have also improved, such as complications with his heart and digestive system.

“It’s just been amazing to see how much it’s helped him,” Jake says. “It’s just been completely night and day.”

The Petersons have started living a normal life with their son — they can now do things like roll around with him on the floor, read him books on their laps and laugh together at his favorite Mickey Mouse videos.

Natalie remembers a moment recently when Garrett fell asleep on the floor of their family room, which was dark except for the lights on the Christmas tree.

“I was sitting there thinking, ‘Wow,’ ” she says. “We never knew if we would be able to get Garrett home. To be able to see him just napping — breathing comfortably on the floor in our family room — it was just overwhelming.”

Dr. Glenn Green, a pediatric head and neck specialist who treated Garrett, says he expects that the boy will continue to improve.

Garrett Peterson in October 2014.

“We know the splint has been opening up the way that we wanted,” Green says. “And so the airway is able to grow. So, at this point, we’re just waiting for further growth to happen and for the splint to eventually dissolve.”

Another boy Green had treated earlier, on an experimental basis, and a third baby who got a splint a few months after Garrett are also doing well, Green says. So he’s now working to get his 3-D-printed windpipe splints officially approved by the Food and Drug Administration, which he hopes will make it easier to help even more babies.

“I’m just extremely pleased to see the children doing well,” Green says. “It just is the most rewarding thing for a physician — to see somebody that had never been home from the hospital now able to enjoy the holidays. I couldn’t ask for a better present.”

The Petersons are looking forward to Christmas, too.

“We’re just so, so excited to have him home and to able to, you know, spend Christmas morning in our pajamas — just hanging out in our family room,” Natalie says. “It’s going to be great.”

References:

3D printed hearts

3D Printed models may help lower surgeries in children related to congenital heart disease, according to the Association of Cardiovascular Imaging’s EuroEcho-Imaging 2014 conference 🙂

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/286489.php

illustration of a heart

Heart surgeries in children with congenital heart disease could be reduced if 3D-printed models of patients’ hearts could be used to plan their treatment in advance, according to a presentation at the the European Association of Cardiovascular Imaging’s EuroEcho-Imaging 2014 conference.

“3D imaging is a main theme of EuroEcho-Imaging this year and 3D printing of the heart is particularly exciting,” said president of the European Association of Cardiovascular Imaging, Prof. Patrizio Lancellotti. “It allows us to make a perfect model of a patient’s anatomy and decide the optimal device and procedure in advance.”

It is possible to create replicas of people’s hearts using computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. The scans are then printed using flexible materials.

Dr. Peter Verschueren, who spoke on the topic at EuroEcho-Imaging 2014, said:

“Until recently, doctors would look at an image and then try to visualize the heart in 3D. Now they can use a 3D copy of an individual patient’s heart to plan the procedure in detail before they go into the operating theater.”

As well as congenital heart diseases, such as double outlet right ventricle or Tetralogy of Fallot, Dr. Verschueren says the 3D-printed hearts could be used to plan interventions for “complex bicuspid aortic valve cases that doctors want to treat with transcatheter aortic valve implantation (TAVI) and new transcatheter interventions for repairing or replacing the mitral and tricuspid valves.”

Also at EuroEcho-Imaging 2014, biomedical research engineer Helen O’Grady presented a 3D-printed model of tricuspid regurgitation, which was used as a training aid. To create the model, CT scans of tricuspid regurgitation patients were used to build a 3D software model, which formed the blueprint for the 3D-printed heart.

O’Grady also molded a more flexible model to replicate the anatomical properties of the heart in the body as well as the motion of the valve.

“There is a variation in normal anatomies and more so in diseased anatomies such as tricuspid regurgitation,” O’Grady told the attendees. She continued:

“Being able to practice on the model allows for better surgical planning and doctors can optimize the interventional procedure pre-operatively. Cardiologists, surgeons and physicians say there’s nothing like having a tangible model in your hands as it gives such invaluable insight into the patient anatomy involved.”

Another benefit of 3D models, she added, is that they can be used to discuss the intervention not only with the medical team, but with patients and parents of children with congenital heart defects.

“It helps everyone affected to better understand what the procedure will involve,” she said.

3D printing to plan face transplants

In other 3D printing news, a study presented this month at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America also made the case for CT-based 3D printing as a tool for planning face transplantation surgery.

To do this, surgeons made 3D-printed models of the patients’ heads, which allowed them to physically hold and study a life-size model of the skull they would be operating on.

“If there are absent or missing bony structures needed for reconstruction, we can make modifications based on the 3D-printed model prior to the actual transplantation, instead of taking the time to do alterations during ischemia time,” said Dr. Frank J. Rybicki, radiologist and director of Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA. “The 3D model is important for making the transplant cosmetically appealing.”

MEDICALNEWSTODAY.COM
by David McNamee |  5 December 2014 at 8am PST

The recovery of vision thanks to 3D printing!

3D printed bionic eyes; providing vision to those that once had and lost it! Follow the link below to learn more! 🙂

http://3dprint.com/24398/3d-printed-bionic-eye/

bioniceye-projet1200

3D Printing is such an amazing technology. I can’t emphasize it enough. Each and every day I am surprised by the ways in which this technology is being used. As a journalist covering 3D printing news on a daily basis, there are days when I get goosebumps on my arms just writing a story, while other days I am presented with material that can be quite humorous. One thing is for sure though; I never have a boring day.

Today, in preparation for covering this particular story, I actually had tears come to my eyes; the very eyes, that thanks to my contact lenses, have nearly 20/20 vision, and the very eyes that many of us take for granted. Unfortunately, not everyone can see with clarity. There are those who have lost their eyesight almost completely due to macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa, or some other condition or events. These people only wish that they could one day see again.

Thanks to researchers at the Bionics Institute, 3D Systems’ ProJet 1200 3D printers and a company called evok3d, some of these people may one day get their vision back . Researchers have been working for several years on what they call a ‘bionic eye’, which aims to provide new vision to those suffering from retinitis pigmentosa and age-related macular degeneration. In order for a patient to see results from this device, which remains in its testing stages, they will need to still have some remaining retinal ganglion cells, a healthy optic nerve and visual cortex, and they must at one point in their lives have had the ability to see.

bioniceye1

The bionic eye has already been tested on a select few individuals and it has been shown to work. It is able to provide enhanced vision to those experiencing both partial and total vision loss.

In order to generate the prototypes for these bionic eyes, as well as the molds used to create the silicon version, the Bionics Institute has been utilizing a ProJet 1200 3D printer, with help from evok3d, which specializes in 3D printing, scanning, and advanced additive manufacturing technology.

The Prototype

Associate Professor and Senior Research Fellow at the Bionics Institute Chris Williams has been tasked with using the ProJet 1200 printer in order to create verification models which are used to test for functionality, fit, and size. They also use the printers to create pre-production molds from the models which they use to cast silicon prototypes.

“We can now get a prototype out in 4 hours using the ProJet 1200,” explains Williams. “Before 3D printing it would take us weeks or months. We found it takes 20 iterations to reach an upgrade, in terms of going through iterations, the machine justified itself in the first week.”

These bionic eyes have been researched and worked on for 10 years now, and just recently, thanks to the precision and efficiency of 3D printing technology, the first clinical trials have been completed.

The bionic vision system includes a camera which transmits radio signals to a microchip in the back of the eye. These signals are then converted into electrical impulses, which are able to stimulate cells in the retina and connect to the optic nerve. They are then transferred to the vision processing areas of the brain, where they can be interpreted as an image which the patient can see. With the current prototypes, patients don’t exactly see the same way that we do. Instead they see blob-like shapes and lights, but the technology has proven to work in allowing blind individuals to walk around unassisted.

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While the technology still has a ways to go before we see it hit mainstream use, there is an extraordinary amount of hope for those who have unfortunately lost their eyesight, thanks to the Bionic Institute, those individuals involved in the project, 3D printing, and evok3d.

“It was quite promising, their vision was optimized, obviously they want better vision and fully wireless power, but the eye surgeons were pleased with the process and that’s a platform for future trials,” Williams said.

What do you think about this incredible use of 3D printing to fabricate working prototypes for the creation of bionic eyes? Discuss in the 3D printed bionic eye forum thread on 3DPB.com.

3DPRINT.COM
by  | NOVEMBER 24, 2014

3D printed cervical spine

After over 20 years of being told he was wrong, one man’s determination and his knowledge of 3D design and printing led to him being proven right!

If this technology had been available in the late 80’s when the incident occurred, he would have been spared all the pain and misdiagnoses from doctors that, ultimately, were all wrong! :-/

http://3dprint.com/22685/3d-printed-cervical-spine/

3D Print of Heathcotes Spine

Medical advancements are leading the way in prolonging life, reducing pain, and ultimately increasing the overall quality of living for the average person. It is technology such as 3D imaging and 3D printing that is making much of these advancements possible.

More than twenty years ago, a man named Paul Heathcote, who you may remember from a story we did on him last week, was the victim of a brutal assault. Heathcote has been complaining of pain ever since, yet doctors had not been able to tell him what was wrong. Unlike most people, however, he didn’t take his doctors’ diagnosis, or lack thereof, as a final answer.

“Since the assault, I have been complaining about aches and pains in my head, neck, shoulders, arms and experiencing pins & needles in both hands,” Heathcote tells 3DPrint.com. “Rather strangely the two same fingers on each hand sometimes go completely numb and stick together until I move my head around and I get feeling back in them. Once again, despite seeing several consultants and having numerous x-rays, scans and tests, the clinicians were unable to tell me what was actually causing my problems.”

Heathcote knew that there was something wrong, and that he wasn’t exactly imagining that he was experiencing pain. So he did a 3D reconstruction of a CT scan that was taken of his shoulders, and noticed something quite strange about a piece of his 1st thoracic vertebra, but when he brought up his findings to a doctor, that doctor’s reaction was not what he had expected.

“I pointed out what I had seen and she told me it was ‘an old displaced fracture of the transverse process of my 1st thoracic vertebra,’” Heathcote explained. “Curiously she then decided that she didn’t want to see me again and discharged me from her clinic and back to my doctor.”

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Now Heathcote was starting to get a complex. While his findings did prove something was wrong, and the doctor backed him up, he was beginning to feel a bit hopeless. Then about a year later, he had a CT scan done of his complete cervical spine, in order to see if there was anything else the doctors had failed to tell him. After creating yet another 3D reconstruction, he noticed several more of what he thought were abnormalities of his spine. He proceeded to print off some images and take them, along with a copy of the CT scan, to his doctor. The doctor told him that it was now evident that he had sustained multiple avulsion fractures and subluxations of his cervical spine during the brutal 1988 incident. Heathcote was immediately referred to the spinal department at his local hospital.

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“I saw yet another consultant specializing in cervical spine problems,” Healthcote tells us. “The consultant confirmed my doctor’s diagnosis but told me that it was too late to do anything now. Surgery was not indicated and he discharged me from his clinic. The 3D print of my cervical spine that was done this year allows me to see all the fractures and subluxations the doctors identified in great detail. Knowing and being able to see what is actually causing my pain, means that I can attempt to manage my painful symptoms a little better, but things are still not good at all.”

Unfortunately for Heathcote, this technology was not available to anyone back in 1988, when the incident occurred. If it had been, more than likely doctors would have discovered the problem areas in his spine and elected to do surgery to repair these problems. Thanks though to Heathcote’s determination in not simply relying on doctors to diagnose his problems, and his knowledge of 3D technology such as 3D imagining and 3D printing, he can now at least try his best to manage his pain, and perhaps one day a solution will be had.

What do you think about Heathcote’s determination, and the doctors’ lack thereof? Discuss in the 3D printed cervical spine forum thread on 3DPB.com.

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3DPRINT.COM
by  | NOVEMBER 5, 2014