The medical field is one of the largest adopters of AM technologies. However, it’s also one of the toughest to introduce new products into, due to high standards regulations. We’ve seen customized splints, hip replacements, surgical equipment, and doctors aren’t quite done yet. There are lots of commonplace medical items to analyze and redesign through AM like, for example, bespoke heart valves that could help deal with upcoming shortages. Now that AM has claimed its place within the medical toolset, more advanced and exotic applications are being explored with greater confidence. Breast implant reconstruction scaffolds printed with biocompatible materials all the way to swarms of drug-delivering micro-bots and bioprinting research. It’s been a long road to get here, but the doors are now more open than ever.
3D printing could meet rising demand for heart valves
If Swiss researchers have their way, artificial heart valves could simply come out of 3D printers in future. Switzerland’s Federal Institute of Technology (ETHZ), along with South African company Straight Access Technologies (SAT) has developed a silicone replacement for the heart valves used today. However, it will take at least ten years before the custom-made artificial heart valves can be used.
Read more at SWI.
This startup is 3D printing breast implants for cancer survivors
[Lattice Medical] creates 3D-printed breast implants which, unlike common silicone implants, dissolve into the body after a year. But the real magic is that in that time the company has a method for regrowing the natural breast tissue so that patients are ultimately left with natural breasts after just a single operation.
Keep reading on Sifted.
Georgia Tech Aims To Scale Micro 3D Printing And Produce Ant Robot Army
Barely visible to the human eye, a breed of microscopic 3D printed robots has been developed at Georgia Institute of Technology. Deemed “micro-bristle-bots” the devices can be be controlled by minute vibrations, making them capable of transporting materials, and detecting changes in the environment. Working together, like ants, the robots’ potential multiplies, unlocking a range of varied applications along the boundaries of mechanics, electronics, biology and physics. The Georgia Tech team is now looking at ways to scale-up the micro 3D printing method used to make the bots, and produce “hundreds or thousands” of the devices in a single build.
Read the full article here.
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