It’s hard to imagine something so simple could save a child’s life. But that’s exactly what this small device built on 3-D printer did. University of Michigan doctors designed and implanted the tracheal splint inside Kaiba Gionfriddo, now 20 months old.
The tiny collar was made to treat Kaiba’s tracheobronchomalacia, a condition in which the airways collapse when breathing or coughing. It was created directly from a CT scan of the collapsed area using a laser-based 3-D printer. The printer constructed the splint using polycaprolactone, a biodegradable polyester that is slowly absorbed by the body over a few years. It was sewn around the airway to keep it open and give support so more tissue could grow.
The doctors described their groundbreaking treatment in New England Journal of Medicine letter published on May 23.
In the video below, MakerBot Industries, the 3-D printer manufacturer based in Brooklyn, N.Y., shares the story of Richard Van As and Ivan Owen. The two create articulated prosthetic hands for those suffering from a disfiguring congenital disorder.
They are using a donated MakerBot Replicator 2 3-D printer to quickly build major parts of the device out of thermoplastics. The two have loaded the digital files to 3-D print their Robohand onto sharing site Thingiverse so that others can build the devices for people in their community. They are also soliciting crowdfunding through Indiegogo to continue their work.
Van As said that Robohand is just the beginning. “Maybe Robohand took the 3-D printing world by surprise with what we’re doing with it,” he said. “But if you have a look at the broad spectrum of it, I think that printing a mechanical device that can aid you when you’ve lost fingers is just a tiny little part of it. It’s a big, big picture, this 3-D printing.”
Top Image: Richard makes adjustments to Liam’s hand. Image courtesy MakerBot.
Apparently, the world was ready.
Two entrepreneurs have hit the Kickstarter jackpot with their pitch to build the world’s first 3-D printing pen.
The campaign for the 3Doodler pen started that started on Feb. 19 quickly racked up more than
10,000 17,300 backers, who have so far pitched in more than $900,000 $1.5 million. That’s a respectable start for the brainchild of Peter Dilworth and Max Bogue, the co-founders of WobbleWorks, especially when their goal was to raise $30,000 from the crowdfunding site for creative projects.
Essentially a glue gun whose metal tip can reach 518 degrees Fahrenheit to extrude molten plastic like 3-D printers, the 3Doodler is said to allow users to create shapes in three dimensions. Check out the video after the jump to see it in action.