Custom-made prosthesis to replace lost limbs have been made for years by hand in a labor-intensive process. But now 3-D printing is offering an alternative. CCTV America’s John Zarrella reports.
3-D printing advances include limbs, heartsCustom-made prosthesis to replace lost limbs have been made for years by hand in a labor-intensive process. But now 3-D printing is offering an alternative. CCTV America’s John Zarella reports.
These cutting edge 3-D-printed prosthetics are changing both lives and the future of medicine.
They were made by engineering students at the University of Central Florida in Orlando. A year and a half ago they started a non-profit called Limbitless Solutions. The cost to a family for one of these nothing.
A traditional prosthetic arm could cost tens of thousands of dollars. The material for these comes to about $300.
The students donate their time. So far they’ve made about 20. Legs, because they are weight-bearing remain a challenge.
These 3-D printed prosthetics are unique because they are electronic. Sensors on muscles activate these artificial limbs.
Advances in 3-D printed parts are rapidly taking place.
At the UCF Medical School, Professor Dinender Singla and his students are perfecting the techniques to produce an exact replica of a human heart. Within a year they hope to print a patient’s defective heart taking two-dimensional cat scans and MRI’s and giving the surgeon a 3-D look.
The damaged part of the heart would print in one color while the healthy muscle would print in another. Before he even makes the first incision, a surgeon would know exactly what he’s dealing with even on the inside of the heart.
What they are doing now is just a beginning Singla says. Down the road, in a decade or two using what’s called bio-printing, they may be able to produce a complete artificial heart.