3D printed prosthetics for Ugandan schoolchildren

http://www.3ders.org/articles/20150603-3d-printed-prosthetics-get-ugandan-amputees-back-on-their-feet.html

3D printed prosthetics get Ugandan schoolchildren back on their feet

Although we’ve heard numerous stories about how 3D printing has helped enable hundreds of those in need of prosthetic limbs, a majority of the cases have been located in the United States or the United Kingdom where 3D printers or 3D printing providers are becoming increasingly common and access to a 3D printer is getting easier than ever before.  While this is excellent news, there are still many world locations where affordable prosthetic devices – and even 3d printers in general – are needed and could be used perhaps even more than those located in more developed Western countries.

In the meantime – thankfully – various organizations and 3D printing providers have been picking up 3D printing jobs as needed to ensure that those who need the prosthetic devices the most are getting the proper care that they need.  More recently, the University of Toronto and charity Christian Blind Mission took it upon themselves to produce prostheses for a Ugandan schoolboy who had been in need of a prosthetic device for years.

The schoolboy, Jesse Ayebazibwe of Kisubi, Uganda, tragically had his right leg amputated after he was hit by a truck after walking home from school three years ago.  Since then, the nine-year-old has been maneuvering with the aid of crutches – however they have since made it difficult to play or move around.  “I liked playing like a normal kid before the accident,” he said.

Thanks to the support of a local orthopaedic technologist, Moses Kaweesa of the Comprehensive Rehabilitation Services (CoRSU) in Uganda, Ayebazibwe was able to use an infrared scanner and some 3D modeling software to create a prosthetic solution for the young boy before shipping the files to Canada to be 3D printed.

“The process is quite short, that’s the beauty of the 3D printers,” said Kaweesa.  “Jesse was here yesterday, today he’s being fitted.”

While Ayebazibwe previously wore a traditional-style prosthesis last year, his new 3D printed prosthesis is among the first in a trial that could see more 3D printed prosthetic device across Uganda for others in need – thanks in no small part to the efforts of Kaweesa.

Currently, the entire country of Uganda has just 12 trained prosthetic technicians for over 250,000 children who have lost limbs, which are often due to fires or congenital diseases.  At $12,000, a portable solution consisting of a laptop, a 3d scanner and a 3d printer is not cheap – however when considering the impact that a portable prosthetic device system could have on over 200,000 children in need – in northern Uganda alone, many people have lost limbs due to decades of war where chopping off limbs was a common reality.

“There’s no support from the government for disabled people … we have a disability department and a minister for disabled people, but they don’t do anything,” said Kaweesa.  “You can travel with your laptop and scanner.”

Upon receiving his 3D printed prosthetic, Ayebazibwe was clearly ecstatic.  “(It) felt good, like my normal leg,” he said. “I can do anything now — run and play football.”

The boy’s 53-year old grandmother, Florence Akoth, looks after him, even carrying him the two kilometers to school after his leg was crushed and his life shattered. She too is thrilled.

“Now he’s liked at school, plays, does work, collects firewood and water,” said Akoth.

3ders.org

by Simon | Jun 3, 2015

http://www.3ders.org/articles/20150603-3d-printed-prosthetics-get-ugandan-amputees-back-on-their-feet.html

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3D printed fractals!

Fascinating Fractals Replicated To The Finest Detail

http://3dprint.com/50133/3d-printed-fractals-2/

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When I was in school, I admittedly was not a fan of mathematics. It was just something about numbers that turned me away. While my grades held up, and I never failed a single math class, I must admit that when I finally graduated, I never missed the subject. However, not everyone feels the same. Mathematics can be fascinating to others, especially when geometric figures called fractals are involved.

Fractals are curves or geometric figures made up of parts which have the same statistical character as the whole. They are mysteriously found in nature as are they in many man-made formations and objects. For one man, named Jérémie Brunet, fractals have always been fascinating.

“Fractals have fascinated me since the 80s when I was a teenager,” Brunet tells 3DPrint.com. “My father offered me a book entitled ‘The beauty of fractals’ which I still cherish to this day. I used to program fractals on my early computers and draw them by hand. About 5 years ago, a new generation of 3D fractals emerged from a collaborative work onfractalforums.com and I became hooked again.”

Image copyright: Coandco

One day, Brunet stumbled upon Shapeways and immediately it became evident that he had to “give physical substance to these strange mathematical creatures.”

“I like to push the boundaries of fractal art, and 3D printing was the perfect technology to that end,” Brunet explains. “To me, they are a way to visualise the beauty of nature, the elegant laws of the universe and the emergence of complexity through simple rules and fundamental ingredients. Today, creating 3D printed fractals still represents many challenges, as these objects bear infinite details by definition, but my passion is to keep on pushing the limits in the 3D fractals domain.”

Currently Brunet has about a hundred different fractals available for various prices on his Shapeways shop. Some are priced at under $10, while others are hundreds of dollars. They range from large plastic 3D prints to smaller pieces of jewelry made of precious metals like gold, silver, and bronze. Brunet relies on Shapeways, opting not to print his designs on desktop FFF-based 3D printers, simply for the fact that those machines can’t provide him with the intricate details needed.

Image copyright: Coandco

“I like to try all the possible colours and materials at my disposal,” he tells us. “I’m sure that one day, affordable and fine resolution metal desktop 3D printers will be available, then I’ll probably invest.”

As for designing his individual fractals, they require a lot of hard work and time. The workflow is complex, involving the exportation of voxel stacks fromMandelbulb3D, which is a freeware fractal generator. The stacks are then combined into a triangle mesh in a process referred to as a “marching cubes” algorithm, and then they are post-processed and optimized in Meshlab. Recently Brunet has begun using another software package called Incendia EX, which provides a special feature that allows exporting directly to STL files.

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Brunet tells us that, while he sells quite a few of his fractals on Shapeways, he really has spent more on buying them himself than he has earned through sales. He hopes to break even one of these days, perhaps this year or next. Regardless, his 3D printed fractals are gaining him quite a bit of attention.

“Most recently, one of my sculptures has been shown at the Brown Symposium at Southwestern University in Texas as part of an art exhibit dedicated to 3D printing called ‘What Things May Come‘. Even if this is just a hobby, my next large scale project in 3D printing is to collaborate on the build of a massive 3D printed fractal temple for the Burning Man festival in Nevada, hopefully in 2017. Stay tuned!”

Even though I don’t have an interest in mathematics, like Brunet does, I certainly have an appreciation for the designs that he has created. I may just end up buying a few of his incredible fractals for myself. What do you think about Brunet’s fractals? Have you purchased any yourself? Discuss in the 3D Printed Fractals forum thread on 3DPB.com. Also be sure to check out Brunet’s YouTube channel, as well as some additional photos below.

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3DPRINT.COM
by  | MARCH 11, 2015

3D printing revolution in school

September is round the corner and 3D printing is ready for school!

Check out our latest blog post on the many incredible ways 3D printing is being of great assistance in the classroom!

http://malta3dprinting.blogspot.com/…/3d-printing-goes-back…

Modern universities around the world have successfully endorsed 3D printers in the classroom. Students from all walks of life are creating innovative products, rivaling the originality and ingenuity of high-end companies.

They’ve created interesting products like boats and augmented reality headsets, to name a few.

While many of these institutions at the top of the educational hierarchy are focusing on additive manufacturing, what about those lower down the learning tree?

Imagine the possibilities of having small, user-friendly 3D printers in our children’s classrooms. Computers provided a tremendous leap in learning potential, proof that accepting modern means of learning can pay dividends.

Malta 3D Printing’s Facebook page recently featured an interesting infographic regarding the myriad of different uses 3D printers would have in a classroom.

Titled ‘Revolutionizing the Classroom,’ the picture explains how printing could impact 9 different academic subjects – from biology and chemistry, to graphic design and history.

The global surge in interest in 3D printing has even lead to books being written specifically for teachers seeking to use a printer in the classroom. One of the more recent additions is titled ‘The Invent To Learn Guide to 3D Printing in the Classroom: Recipes for Success‘, by Norma Thornburg, David Thornburg and Sara Armstrong.

Available on Amazon, the step-by-step guide has received plenty of positive reviews. It presents 18 stimulating printing projects – covering a wide range of subjects including mathematics, engineering and science.

For educators less comfortable with certain technical aspects of 3D printing, this book is definitely for you.

It is crucial that we introduce these technologies at a young age, allowing for children to get accustomed to them nice and early. The usual naysayers – Luddites and technophobes – may resist such a transition, as they did when desktop computers slowly made their way into the classroom a couple of decades ago.

However, provided all goes well, 3D printers can become a bastion of educational technology!

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It’s perfect for allowing children to explore their imagination, simultaneously widening their range of creative skills. Furthermore, it encourages kids to keep trying even after they’ve failed, as printing itself requires trial and error.

So often, children are frustrated by failure, yet 3D printing allows for an environment which accepts it with open arms.

It’s nice to know that messages from the printing industry aren’t falling on deaf ears. As far back as 2009, projects like KIDE have begun infiltrating classrooms in the UK. Started byDejan Mitrovic – a technological pioneer – his educational scheme focuses on bringing 3D printing into the classroom, focusing on a ‘think-create-use’ model.

This Vimeo video captures the KIDE project in action – displaying the students’ work in a 2 minute slideshow.

On the other side of the pond, an article by Redorbit tells us about 12 groups of teachers who visited the Michigan Technological Institute to learn more about 3D printing. They were effectively given a crash course, ensuring they return to their respective schools with a decent understanding.

Slowly, but surely, the world is embracing 3D printing. It’s only a matter of time before it spreads across the globe!

Perhaps one-day the children of the future will begin community altering projects in their very own classrooms. We’ll open our newspapers to read about a local group of boys and girls who helped to pioneer a contraption of the future.

All we must do is provide them with the tools and proper guidance – then sit back in awe as we watch the cogs in our little men and women’s brains turn.

MALTA3DPRINTING.BLOGSPOT.COM
by  | 26 August 2014