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Hand of a Superhero – 3D Printing and Wearables


This story has been going around all over social media, but it’s too good not to share. If you read the New York Times story and don’t get close to tears, I’ll be surprised. Prosthesis for children are such a great application of 3D printing. Plus, it’s great to see so many of the 3D printing designs out in the public domain and available to anyone for free.

Here’s a video look at how the prosthesis works:

Also, here’s a video where they literally build the 3D printed prosthesis.

The most amazing part of this prosthesis to me is the cable “tendons” that are attached to the wrist muscle to flex the hand. Seeing solutions like this help remind me that sometimes we’re trying to hard to find the perfect solution. Instead of trying to be the end all be all solution that restores everything to perfection, sometimes we need to approach the problem with a simple but effective solution.

The mix of new technologies applied in unique ways never cease to amaze me.

February 25, 2015 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

3D Printed Heart Saves Child’s Life

No, they didn’t print a 3D printed heart that they could put inside a patient (maybe that will come one day), but this is still a great story. They 3D printed a model of a heart to help the surgeons prepare for heart surgery. Here’s an excerpt from The Independent article:

Surgeons at a New York hospital have credited 3D printing with helping to save the life of a 2-week-old baby who required complicated heart surgery.

Using MRI scan data, Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital in New York City 3D printed a copy of the child’s heart, which was both riddled with holes and structured unusually.

Surgery was going to be complicated and dangerous, but this 3D printed heart provided the surgeons the opportunity to study the organ, and develop a detailed surgery strategy.

“The baby’s heart had holes, which are not uncommon with CHD, but the heart chambers were also in an unusual formation, rather like a maze,” Dr Emile Bacha, who performed the surgery, told Connecticut local media.

Really cool stuff. The article also noted that normally this type of surgery would have required multiple operations to complete. With the 3D printed heart, they were able to repair the baby’s heart with one operation.

I’d never thought about using 3D printed objects for teaching, learning and preparing for surgeries. It makes a lot of sense and is a really great innovation. I love when technology comes together and benefits us in ways we likely wouldn’t have expected.

October 8, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Providing Blood to 3D Printed Organs

I’m sure we’ve all been intrigued by the progress that’s being made on 3D printing organs. If you’re like me, the idea blows you away when you see mention of it on Twitter or you see the concepts on a show like Grey’s Anatomy. The fact that we can 3D print an organ at all is astonishing and provides some really interesting opportunities for research. However, we’re quite a ways from actually being able to 3D print an organ that we can transplant into a human body.

Transplanting a 3D printed organ into a human body is indeed the holy grail of 3D printing organs. There are so many people who die every year as they wait on the organ transplant list (Side Note: Sign up to be a donor). If we could 3D print them an organ, we could possibly save thousands of people’s lives.

While TV shows and mentions on Twitter make it sound pretty easy, a deeper dive into the 3D printing of organs shows how complex the process really is to create a human organ that actually functions. This was incredibly illustrated by this article on 3DPrint.com that talks about the need to not only 3D print the organ, but also to create the vascular network that’s needed to furnish the organ with an ongoing blood supply. Here’s an excerpt from the article:

With that said, there is still one major hurdle to get us from the tiny sheets of 3D printed organ tissue, to that of entire 3D printed organs, which could one day be created by a patient’s own stem cells, and transplanted to save their life. That hurdle is the vascularisation of those organs. Every cell within a human organ, such as the liver, kidney or heart are within a hair’s width of a blood supply. This is an incredibly complex setup, one which up until now, researchers have found to be a nightmare to overcome when dealing with bioprinting. Without an adequate vascular network, the cells would be starved of oxygen, as well as a means to excrete waste, causing them to die and making the printed organs worthless.

The rest of the story is always more complex than the headlines. The great part is that in that same article the talk about some work by scientists from the Universities of Sydney, Harvard, Stanford and MIT working together to 3D print a network of stable capillaries. Even the description of the process is complex, but basically they’ve figured out a way to create tiny spaces where blood could flow.

Stories like this are extremely exciting, but also show just how far we have to go before we’ll be able to 3D print an organ. Really amazing work.

July 9, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.