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3D printing – Improving lives

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One of the most heard criticisms of 3D printing is that it just creates more plastic waste in our lives. More so in the case of failed printings that have to be redone, and that there aren’t enough ways to use recycled materials in the process. Although this is a downside, obviously, there are many benefits in their existence, for example:

Recently, surgeons in London achieved a major first; with the use of a 3D printer they produced a replica of the 2-year old patient’s abdomen and her donor father’s kidney which enabled them to make a very detailed plan of attack ending in a successful kidney transplant operation. The world first, in this case, was relating to a transplant from an adult to a child.

The happy canine shown above is Romina. Three years ago Romina lost her front leg in an accident and last week, doctors fitted her with a one-of-a-kind 3D printed prosthetic leg. Fernanda Ortiz, one of the specialist treating the Greyhound Whippet at the Universidad Del Valle De Mexico explained it will enable her joints to move in a way that copies what natural limbs do.

Alvin Garcia Flores was born without an arm, and the team at Limbitless Solutions printed up and provided him with one in a presentation before his entire school.
Members of the 501st Legion’s Central Garrison (which serves Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota) were on hand to present Alvin with his brand new arm.

Limbitless Solutions are a non-profit organisation based in Florida. Their mission – to create ‘advanced personalized bionics and solutions for disabilities.’

Last year, Robert Downey Jr delivered an arm to a child that needed one, created by Limbitless. Now, while conventional electronic prosthetics cost tens of thousands of dollars, Alex’s arm needed just $350 for the materials needed to put it together. With costs like these, the Limbitless team were able to afford the arm just by pooling their “coffee money.” If you feel like donating yourself, there’s a link to do so in the top right corner of their site.

When Alvin’s principal (Terry Burton) saw the video last year showing Robert Downey Jr giving the arm to Alex he immediately thought of Alvin

He wrote to Limbitless and the organization agreed to build the arm, not just any arm but just like a Stormtroopers from Star Wars!

So to finish, you can see from the above examples that 3D printing does seem to be here to stay, and, it has the power to redefine materialism altogether. One day in the future there may well be a 3D printer in every home!