Tattoos to 3D printing!

http://www.theguardian.com/healthcare-network/2015/sep/04/tattoos-to-3d-printing-five-inventions-that-will-revolutionise-healthcare

contact lens

Tattoos to 3D printing: five inventions that will revolutionise healthcare

Most people know they are sick or their health is at risk because of symptoms – pain, temperature, swelling, rash etc. These are the alarm bells that drive people to doctors. However, new epidemics like obesity and type 2 diabetes can start causing damage a long time before symptoms appear, and no alarms go off.

Today we can meet these challenges with new allies. Beyond the health and fitness uses, the new world of wearables (external surface sensors) and, in time, digestibles (nanoparticle sensors that can transmit information from within), offer the opportunity to restore control back to us. Advances in biotechnology as well as material science offer us alternatives never before dreamed possible.

Google’s smart contact lens
This contact lens has an embedded sensor that measures the glucose level in your tears every second and transmits that data to a device (ie a smartphone) where it can be displayed or transmitted to a medical professional. It can also change colour if glucose levels fall below or rise above specific levels. The limiting step at the moment is powering the device. Currently it includes a small antenna which is placed between two layers of glass along with the sensor but this has to be close to a power source.

Medical tattoos
Butterfly biostamps the size of a thumbnail measure sun exposure, and a medical stamp can measure motion, temperature, heart rate and perspiration, or oxygen saturation.

There’s a new version that can be placed directly on brain tissue to monitor epileptic seizures and one that can be draped around the heart helping better detect arrhythmias and give finer control to pacemakers. The latter would use the heart’s motion to convert the energy of muscular contraction into electrical energy.

The 2025 vision is that every baby in the developing world will be tagged with several biostamps at birth. One on the wrist or ankle would replace the hospital bracelet and allow nurses to monitor the baby’s heart rate, temperature respiratory rate and oxygenation.

At UC San Diego, they have created a different type of tattoo which currently lasts on the skin for about 24 hours, applying a very mild electrical current to the skin surface for 10 minutes forcing sodium ions to migrate towards the printed electrodes. A built-in sensor then interprets the strength of the charge generated to determine a person’s overall glucose levels. Two further refinements are needed to make this ready; at present it is not connected to a numeric read out, and they are working to extend the life beyond 24 hours.

Biological 3D printing
A team at Princeton printed a bionic ear and a team at Cambridge has printed retinal cells to form complex eye tissue. But Jennifer Lewis, a biological engineering professor at Harvard, has solved the dilemma of how to print tissues with full blood supply (essential if you are going to create functional replacement organs) and has taken her team closer to being able to print a full kidney (currently the most widely transported organ). Making complete organs requires even more complex structures but with new innovations we can look to a future where damaged or worn out organs, from kidneys to hearts, could be printed to precise design specifications.

Optogenetics
Various forms of direct stimulation to the brain (implanted electrodes, vagal nerve stimulation etc) have been used in a variety of situations including depression. Now there is the possibility to use encoded genetic proteins that change in the presence of light to stimulate areas of the brain non-invasively for a particular purpose. While initial approaches used methods to genetically alter cells that could result in cell destruction limiting their practical value, the University of Chicago has recently developed an alternative which uses tiny gold nanoparticles that allow the modification of cells using low-level infrared lights and which remain intact and effective within cells over the long term without hurting or damaging nearby cells. While still in its infancy, in the next 10 years we will see new approaches and even more refined procedures of central nervous stimulation used to do everything from enhance learning to treat depression.

Real-time physiological monitoring
A low-cost device with multiple sensors that could monitor heart rate, temperature, oxygen saturation, blood pressure, respiratory rate, fluid state, and glucose could provide a comprehensive output on the body’s dynamic health. While still in phased development, the first versions of such devices exist in the US and Switzerland. Couple their sensor capabilities with analytic data fusion software and you have real-time dynamic physiological data. No longer do I need to do an artificial stress test to see how your heart behaves under strain or what is most likely to push you into diabetic crisis. Now I can see that your heart’s function was pushed to extremes at 2pm on Thursday and 5pm on Friday. With a report of your body’s reaction to exercise, increased stress at work, overeating, episodic illness, lack of sleep, you can not only assess your vulnerability but understand what patterns in your life will most likely tip you over the edge. When I get up in the morning currently I know more about the state of my car than I do about my own health. With these technologies finally that is about to change.

theguardian.com

by David Whitehouse, Chief medical officer, UST Global | Friday 4 September 2015

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First 3D printed pill

http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/architecture-design-blog/2015/aug/05/the-first-3d-printed-pill-opens-up-a-world-of-downloadable-medicine

Pink Pills

The first 3D-printed pill opens up a world of downloadable medicine

Now that the US has approved a 3D-printed drug, pharmaceuticals companies in the UK are hoping their patents will be next – from the pyramid-shaped pill-makers to the man who has done for drugs what Apple did for music.

With architects printing lumpy plastic houses, fashion designers printing oddly-shaped dresses and food companies printing dodgy-looking hamburgers, the hype around 3D printing can often seem like a novelty. But news that the world’s first 3D-printed drug has just been approved suggests that, beyond the realm of personalised plastic trinkets, the technology still has a huge amount to offer.

Developed by Ohio-based pharmaceutical company Aprecia, Spritam levetiracetam is a new drug to control seizures brought on by epilepsy. Approved by the US Food and Drug Administration this week, it employs the company’s trademark “ZipDose” technology, which uses 3D printing to create a more porous pill. Its structure means the pill dissolves more quickly on contact with liquid, making it much easier to swallow high doses than a conventional tablet.

The 3D printing process also allows layers of medication to be packaged more tightly in precise dosages, and it points to a future of more personalised medicine. 3D-printed pills could be custom-ordered, based on specific patient needs, rather than on a one-drug-fits-all approach.

“For the last 50 years, we have manufactured tablets in factories and shipped them to hospitals,” said Dr Mohamed Albed Alhnan, a lecturer in pharmaceutics at the University of Central Lancashire. “For the first time, this process means we can produce tablets much closer to the patient.” By making slight adjustments to the software before printing, hospitals could adjust doses for individual patients, a process of personalisation that is otherwise prohibitively expensive.

The porous pill technology could also have important benefits for other drugs, according to Marvin Rorick, a neurologist at Riverhills Neuroscience in Cincinnati. “In my experience, patients and caregivers often have difficulty following a treatment regimen,” he said. “Whether they are dealing with a swallowing disorder or the daily struggle of getting a child to take his or her medication, adherence can be a challenge. Especially for children and seniors, having an option for patients to take their medication as prescribed is important to managing this disease.”

While 3D printing has already been embraced in other medical fields – from printing new jawbones in facial reconstruction to custom-shaped teeth and other dental implants, as well as producing personalised prosthetics – this is the first time the technology has been approved for the production of drugs; and it won’t be the last time.

Researchers at the School of Pharmacy of University College London have been developing a technique to 3D-print pills in different shapes, from pyramids to doughnuts, using a technique known as “hot melt extrusion”. The different forms, which would be hard to manufacture using standard production techniques, release drugs at different rates. Their research has found that the rate of drug release is dependent not on surface area, but on the surface area-to-volume ratio. A pyramid-shaped pill, for example, releases a drug slower than a cube or a sphere, allowing absorption to be controlled.

While the Spritam pill similarly uses 3D printing primarily to change the physical structure of the pill, other researchers have been working on how the technology could be used to develop new drugs at a molecular level. Professor Lee Cronin at Glasgow University has been working on a “chemputer”, a sort of 3D-printing chemistry set, which can be programmed to make chemical reactions and produce different molecules. Describing the process as similar to what Apple did for music, he envisages a world where patients will be able to download the “recipes” for drugs and print them at home. In the future, he suggests, we won’t be buying drugs, so much as blueprints or apps.

theguardian.com

by  | Wednesday 5 August 2015

Our own 3D printed clothes!

http://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2015/jul/28/are-we-ready-to-print-our-own-3d-clothes

3D printed fashion by Danit Peleg

Are we ready to 3D print our own clothes?

3D printing in fashion might not be new. But one designer thinks soon everbody will just print their entire wardrobe, which could change holiday packing for ever.

Imagine going on holiday with an empty suitcase, checking out the vibe of the hotel bar on arrival, then printing out the perfect dress to match it in your room. Such a delicious possibility could be on offer – one day – thanks to 3D printing. In fact, the work of one fashion student, Danit Peleg, suggests it could be edging nearer.

Danit Peleg working on her 3D printed fashion

From a mesh-effect little black dress to a bright red jacket emblazoned with the word “Liberté”, Peleg produced her entire graduate collection using a 3D printer. Though others have worked with printers before – it has become Dutch designer Iris van Herpen’s signature, in fact, with spooky space-age ensembles appearing on catwalks and on Björk – this is the first full collection designed to be produced, specifically, on the smaller machines that can be used in people’s homes.

LBD? Danit Peleg's 3D printed dress

As the sometimes spooky, often spiky, world of 3D fashion goes, the pieces are fairly wearable – they are a riot of geometric shapes and futuristic patterns, but the texture is bouncy, rather than dusty and hard, thanks to the use of a flexible material called FilaFlex. Peleg’s latticed maxi skirt is very on-trend – long, transparent skirts that show off the wearer’s underwear have become a recent catwalk and red carpet staple, seen at Dolce and Gabbana and Valentino, although Peleg claims inspiration in Eugène Delacroix’s “Liberty Leading the People” – and the triangular shapes found in the composition of the painting.

<strong>Texture</strong> Danit Peleg’s 3D printed fashion

We’re probably quite a few summers away from this becoming part of your holiday packing strategy, however, given the costs and time involved. The red “Liberté” jacket, says Peleg, a student from Israel’s Shenkar art and design school, “took 220 hours to print and about a kilo of materials. Materials would cost 70 euros. But the main issue is printing time – one would need to buy or rent a printer for 220 hours. A printer of the type I used costs 1,700 euros. Renting it would maybe cost 250 euros per week, so I would peg it at at least 600 euros for printing, not including design, assembly, and electricity. It’s still a costly operation, but of course this will change as technologies evolve.” Clothes are printed section by section and are then assembled.

Danit Peleg 3D printed fashion

But one day, says Peleg, the process could be pretty simple. “Customers could download the patterns, just like music files, and print them.”

theguardian.com

by  | Tuesday 28 July 2015 

DNA used to 3D printing?

A 30-year old PhD student has collected DNA ‘leftovers’ from fingernails, cigarette butts etc. and used them to create and 3D print the faces of the people who left their DNA behind.in public areas.

What’s your say on the ethics of DNA use, as well as the (un)ethical use of 3D printing?

http://www.theguardian.com/…/…/jun/01/dna-art-recreate-faces

A strand of DNA

A new ethical dilemma: is it wrong to use people’s DNA ‘leftovers’ to create works of art (or for any other purpose)?
Your DNA is as personal as you can get. It has information about you, your family and your future. Now, imagine it is used – without your consent – to create a mask of your face. Working with the DNA bits left behind by strangers, a Brooklyn artist makes us think about issues of privacy and genetic surveillance.Heather Dewey-Hagborg, a 30-year-old PhD student studying electronic arts at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute has the weird habit of gathering the DNA people leave behind, from cigarette butts and fingernails to used coffee cups and chewing gum. She goes to Genspace (New York City’s Community Biolab) to extract DNA from the detritus she collects and sequence specific genomic regions from her samples. The data are then fed into a computer program, which churns out a facial model of the person who left the hair, fingernail, cigarette or gum behind. Using a 3D printer, she creates life-sized masks – some of which are coming to a gallery wall near you.

Such a process might seem artistically cutting-edge to some. But, for most of us, the “yuck!” factor quickly kicks in. Among one of my horrifying nightmares is the fear to be accused of a crime I did not commit. Picture the scene: you were at the wrong place, at the wrong time, and circumstantial evidence builds against you. Like in any dream, you are trying to shout out loud that you are innocent, but no sound comes out. In my nightmare, the last chance to be saved always comes from DNA testing. After comparing my DNA to that found on the crime scene, I am finally freed. In many ways, DNA has been seen in a very positive light, but that is starting to change as more ethical questions arise.

For my generation, the one born with DNA-profiling that began in 1987 and raised on films like Gattaca, developments in human genetics have directly influenced self-perceptions and experiences. One positive example of this influence is the do-it-yourself biology movement. Genspace allows lab members to design workshops, train students and innovate with new technologies.

Whether you find what Heather Dewey-Hagborg does cool or creepy, DNA-profiling experiment raises a number of legal and ethical questions that no one knows how to handle. To what degree does the DNA we leave behind in public spaces belong to us? Does a facial mask without a name raise the same issues as a photo? In either case, what exactly is our expectation of privacy?

Just because an individual sheds DNA in a public space does not mean that the individual does not care about preserving the privacy of the data in the DNA. There was no informed consent given to access that data. On the other hand, some might say the major problem is not unauthorized access to data but misuse of data. It is easy to imagine a scenario where someone could inadvertently have their genome sequenced from a cigarette butt they left behind. If the person who tested the cigarette found a risk gene for a mental disorder and posted the results on Facebook, the information could affect the smoker’s social and professional life.

Of course, Dewey-Hagbord is not looking for degenerative diseases or mental disorders in the bits of DNA she picks up off New York’s sidewalks. But still, when the sequences come back from the lab, she compares them to those found in human genome databases. Based on this comparison, she determines the person’s ancestry, gender, eye color, propensity to be overweight and other traits related to facial morphology.

Beyond privacy, this search raises questions of the ability to identify someone from their DNA traces. To what extent do genetic traits (such as ancestry) tell you about how a person looks? Based on the analysis of these genetic traits, how accurate is the 3D facial model produced by the computer? At the request of a Delaware forensic practice, Dewey-Hagborg has been working on a sculpture from a DNA sample to identify the remains of an unidentified woman. This opens another black box at the connection between law enforcement and what we might call “DIY forensic science”: here, what is the role of the state versus that of the individual?

In the UK, the Human Tissue Act 2004 prohibits private individuals from covertly collecting biological samples (hair, fingernails, etcetera) for DNA analysis, but provides exclusion for medical and criminal investigations. The situation is more of a patchwork in the US. According to a 2012 report from the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues, only about half of the states have laws that prevent testing someone’s DNA without their knowledge. It is encouraging, at least, to see that many lawmakers at the state-level have begun to discuss the question of privacy and genome sequencing.

In the near future, the Wilson Center in Washington, DC, will be providing a forum for further policy questions on this issue. On 3 June 2013, Dewey-Hagborg has been invited to discuss her research and motivations in a talk about privacy and genetic surveillance. Another discussion will follow on 13 June 2013 at Genspace in Brooklyn. Perhaps with the help of these and other academics, artists and policymakers, we can begin reaching a consensus about what boundaries we want to set for ourselves, before we accidentally end up in a Gattaca of our own creation.

THEGUARDIAN.COM
by Eleonore Pauwels | Saturday 1 June 2013 

3D printing vs sanitation and shelter

Take a look at how Oxfam and other NGO’s are using 3D printing as an innovative humanitarian tool!

http://www.theguardian.com/…/3d-printing-development-sanita…

Oxfam is already printing taps in the Middle East, and is considering printing emergency housing. But what are the cost and the caveats of this new technology?

3D printing has been billed the third industrial revolution and has already proved useful for development. The first printed prosthetic limbs are helping victims of conflict to regain their independence, while scientists are working on bioprintingmethods which could soon see the first ever printed human heart used to help save a life.

Project Daniel in South Sudan has shown the potential of 3D printing for international development organisations working in healthcare, but what other uses could it have for professionals working in the field?

Oxfam is already trialling 3D printing in its Lebanon office as part of efforts to improve sanitation across the country. The charity was donated a 3D printer by the company iMakr, and has used it to build parts of taps and faucets, as well as replacing missing parts of British sanitation kits imported to the region.

“We have an engineer there who is trying out different designs. Mostly it is around handwashing devices. We want to make it easy for people to wash their hands – that’s the type of thing that we are trying,” explains Andy Bastable, Oxfam’s head of water and sanitation.

“We have problems when we have got British fittings and we need to replace it [overseas]. In the the future, we think we could just make them. I think this is an idea that will get stronger, and that will be able to make larger and larger things. We think that 3D printing could be part of the future, supplying [us] in an emergency with lots of different bits of kit.”

Oxfam is also considering how 3D printing might help it develop emergency shelters. Gilles Retsin, co-founder of Softkill Design, is one of the first designers working on 3D printed housing in the UK. “There is quite a lot of interest in it from people involved in emergency housing and crisis housing. They come from the view that it might be possible to print something very quickly in an unexpected site without the need for shipping anything. We would transport a printer and then we would use the materials on the site, such as sand,” he says.

Although 3D printing is unlikely to replace tent villages as an immediate source of shelter for communities in crisis – following conflict or extreme weather, for example – it may have other uses. As it takes just 24 hours to build a set of rooms using local materials fed into a printer, it may have a useful function as a way to quickly and cheaply build medium-term accommodation during the rebuilding process.

It also boasts the great benefit of allowing NGOs and their staff to design bespoke products for their use. This means designs can be altered to take into account the materials available on site, but also the specific religious or cultural needs of a community.

Martin Cottingham, advocacy manager at Islamic Relief, says: “It’s important to deliver shelter as quickly and as cost-effectively as possible in an emergency, but cultural sensitivity is also important. It’s no good having shelters that people don’t want to use because nobody has thought about the cultural dimension – the typical arrangements for sleeping, cooking and washing in the communities affected.” He concludes that 3D printing technology would be useful to the charity if it allowed this flexibility, while not resulting in a significant additional cost per unit.

For development organisations, it’s essential that 3D printing helps to support efforts to build local economies, rather than replace local tradesmanship in designing and building the tools that NGOs need to use in their work.

Mario Flores, director of field operations, disaster risk reduction and response atHabitat for Humanity International, said this would be the key test for 3D printing – along with how much money it could save, how culturally appropriate the end products are and how well those products compare to similar, locally-made alternatives. “Until this and other technologies can demonstrate positive outcomes in each of these litmus tests, they cannot be considered a solution at scale for humanitarian crises,” Flores says.

As the technology matures and becomes cheaper and simpler to operate, development professionals working across the specialisms – from healthcare, to sanitation, to emergency housing – will be able to experiment with its applications more easily. However, some are more sceptical about the prospect of new technology solving what are longstanding and very difficult challenges for NGOs and governments dealing with crises.

“There is a lot of technology innovation, targeting crisis application where there are very large budgets available and pressure to solve problems quickly and visibly,” says Maggie Stephenson, an adviser to UN Habitat. “There is a saying in relation to housing that you shouldn’t experiment on people who have no choice. Experiments in housing are expensive and last a long time, even if they are in emergency shelter.”

Stephenson says development professionals should always remain “aware that the pioneers of this technique, like the pioneers of any technique, are always the most enthusiastic about its potential”.

THEGUARDIAN.COM
by  | Tuesday 5 August 2014 

Arrest for 3D printing?

The saga of the Japanese woman and her vagina selfie for 3D printing purposes continues!

Although released from police custody, it is still unknown whether she will face criminal charges for her her profile arrests for “distributing data that could create an obscene shape through a 3D printer”.

If found guilty, she could face up to two years of jail time or a fine of up to 2.5 million yen

Megumi Igarashi’s arrest on obscenity charges has triggered concerns of clampdown on freedom of expression in Japan.

A Tokyo-based artist known for her genital-inspired works has been released from police custody following her arrest on obscenity charges, her lawyer has said, in a case that triggered accusations of a clampdown on freedom of expression in Japan.

Megumi Igarashi, 42, also known as Rokudenashiko, which roughly translates as “bastard kid”, was arrested on Saturday for distributing data that allowed recipients to make 3D prints of her vagina.

“She was released today,” said her lawyer, Kazuyuki Minami, adding that Igarashi and her legal team were due to hold a press conference later on Friday.

It was not immediately clear if the artist would face criminal charges.

Igarashi had been trying to raise funds online to pay for the construction of a kayak, using a 3D printer, modelled on the shape of her genitals.

Her supporters said they were shocked by what they described as the police’s unusually broad use of Japan’s obscenity laws. Despite its pornography industry, Japan still forbids the depiction of actual genitalia.

The artist was arrested for “distributing data that could create an obscene shape through a 3D printer”, a police spokesman told AFP.

Before her arrest, Igarashi had collected about 1m yen (£5,770) through a crowd-funding website.

In exchange for donations, she supplied data to supporters that would let them create 3D prints of her genitals.

The artist’s arrest triggered protest among her fans and supporters, who started an online petition to demand her immediate release. If convicted, Igarashi could be jailed up to two years or fined up 2.5m yen, according to her lawyer.

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