Low-cost prosthetics from 3D printing technologySource: Wikimedia
The future is coming faster than we thought. Prosthetics technology is not really that new to us. However, the production of low cost prosthetics from 3D printing technology truly is an important advance towards availability of products once unreachable.
When prosthetics were first introduced, they seemed to come straight from science fiction. It is now impressive what some prosthetics can do. If you like to be amazed, then the idea of having functional prosthetics developed by a 3D printer will leave you in awe.
As you already probably know, 3D printing is the design of any three-dimensional object from digital files. It is like your regular printer except that instead of printing on paper, it makes real and tangible objects. You just need to check the world wide web to see all the crazy things that has been 3D printed already. Prosthetics technology saw a chance here to produce a product that takes advantage of this technology. This is how we can now make prosthetics using a 3D printer.
But let’s get down to the costs. The technology used for 3D printing is not too complicated. Basically, you design a 3D modeling software that will be uploaded to the printer which will build it in layers. Now, a prosthetic limb usually has a cost between $5,000 and $50,000. This means that most people in need of a prosthetic cannot even dream of one.
This completely contrasts with the costs of 3D-printing a fully functional prosthetic. Recently, a team of volunteers made a prosthetic hand that had an overall cost of $50. Now this is definitely more affordable.
There are some advantages in 3D printing over the traditional expensive prosthetic besides the cost. These can be crafted in one day, as opposed to the week or two that it takes to create a prosthetic. Plus, it is more versatile, and it provides a much cheaper way of creating limbs for growing children.