How is 3D Printing Changing People's Lives?

 Walking Stick Designed by Shiro Studio and Arup Engineering

Walking Stick Designed by Shiro Studio and Arup Engineering

3D Printers have been around for some time now. These devices, traditionally used to produce physical prototypes from digital models have become more popular and affordable over the past few years. This has allowed for wider adoption and exploration of the technology for various applications. One benefit to have come from this has been creating potential healthcare solutions for humans. You can create everything from toys to car parts, from robot models to high tech medical inventions. Many of which have helped improve people’s lives.

3D Printing Helps Disabilities

 Robotic Arm Designed by Engineering Students 

Robotic Arm Designed by Engineering Students 

For example, the new project called Aslan. Aslan is a robotic arm that has the ability to convert speech into sign language including spelling and counting. It was developed by three Engineering master students who saw there was a large communication gap between the hearing and deaf communities. To close this gap they used modern technologies that offered solutions to these problems. Like the use of 3D printing combined with readily available components.

Another example are the 3D printed prosthetics covers created here at Hone Product Design in Melbourne. These custom designed covers are for lower leg prostheses. They allow users to add style and aesthetic balance to their prosthetic legs, thereby improving the appearance of prostheses & creating a positive emotional experience for the users.

 Form Prosthetic Covers Designed by Hone PD

Form Prosthetic Covers Designed by Hone PD

Inclusive Design

Sometimes we can’t imagine how people with certain disabilities, diseases or injuries feel.  Even the slightest change or difference in the way we look can make us feel weird or rejected.

Inclusive design is designing through someone else’s eyes and that’s what makes it so valuable.  It makes people feel more comfortable, confident and proud of themselves.  Understanding user diversity lies at the heart of Inclusive Design and plays an important role in guiding and directing the decision making process.

Like in the case of Shiro Studio who worked with engineering firm Arup to create a 3D-printed walking stick. It hopes that users will be proud to use it rather than embarrassed due to its simple design and clean aesthetics.

 Walking Stick Designed by Shiro Studio and Arup Engineering

Walking Stick Designed by Shiro Studio and Arup Engineering

It is the first fully 3D-printed walking stick and has an internal structure based on bone tissue. This structure keeps the stick strong yet as lightweight as possible.

"It invites its users to establish an emotional connection with the walking stick, seen as a functional, proud and contemporary design statement rather than an unavoidable manifestation of their physical limitations," said Shiro Studio.

You can find out that these aren’t the only uses of 3D printing in medicine, it is also used in healthcare applications ranging from printing tissues with blood vessels to bones and synthetic skin. This advance in technology has made for some great discoveries while at the same time has dramatically improved lives.

The rapid technological changes are impacting our habits and our health, it has helped us improve many aspects of lives and offered solutions to many health issues.