instead of printing weapons to hurt and kill each other, how about using this tech for good-ness, and not 'bad-ness? (just a crazy thought) Like, oh I don't know..., this:
USAToday, May 22, 2013 - Researchers at the University of Michigan have used a 3-D printer to create a custom-made, life-saving implant for baby boy, they report in a letter in 'The New England Journal of Medicine.'
Researchers at the University of Michigan have used a 3-D printer to create a custom-made, life-saving implant for a baby boy, they report today in a letter in The New England Journal of Medicine.
The baby, Kaiba Gionfriddo, suffered from a rare disorder in which one of the airways in his lungs collapsed when he exhaled. The problem caused him to stop breathing and turn blue when he was only 6 weeks old. Even with a mechanical ventilator, Kaiba stopped breathing virtually every day, requiring doctors to perform emergency resuscitations.
"We'd recently had a child in the hospital who died of this, and I said, 'there has got to be a solution that we can find for these kids,' " says co-author Glenn Green, Kaiba's doctor and an associate professor of otolaryngology.
So Green and his Michigan colleagues tried something new.
Using a 3-D printer, they custom-built a tiny, flexible splint that will grow with Kaiba. Researchers used a special material designed to be absorbed by Kaiba's body in about three years, says co-author Scott Hollister, a professor of biomedical and mechanical engineering.
Instead of making a cast of Kaiba's airway with plaster, they used a CT scanner, which gave them a 3-D blueprint.
Like a vacuum-cleaner hose, the C-shaped splint is flexible enough to move when Kaiba breathes. But it's also firm enough to prevent his air tube from flopping shut, says Green.
Kaiba was able to come off the ventilator three weeks after his surgery in February 2012. "Our prediction is that this will be a cure for him," Green says. "The splint will go away and the process will be done."
The porous splint is made from the same material as dissolvable stitches, Green says. Just as a wisteria vine grows through a trellis, Kaiba's body will create new cells to permeate the scaffold. By the time the splint is completely absorbed, doctors hope that Kaiba's own tissue will be sturdy enough to keep his airway open.