Aug.7, 2013

Custom, 3D printable splints could one day provide people in underdeveloped regions an immediate medical relief for their injuries.

Three graduate students at UCLA's school of Architecture & Urban Design have designed and created a 3D printed wrist splint that gives support for people's minor-yet-debilitating injuries.

The current aid for such injuries in undeveloped or extremely remote areas relies on splints manufacturers in first-world countries, but that requires time and funding for production and shipping.

Inspired by a disaster relief doctor who works on the Thailand-Burma border, Nicholas Solakian, Peter Nguyen, and Derek Buell developed a prototype exoskeleton using 3D printing.

The 3D scanning and 3D printing technology allow them to produce strong and custom-fitted splints designed around the actual structure of the bone.

"The structure itself changes in density so that areas further away from the break requiring less structural rigidity become more porous and flexible making the entire splint more breathable," Nguyen explains.

The 3D printed wrist splints produced with selective laser sintering (SLS) process are rigid and lightweight. The only problem is the SLS machines and materials are expensive and require constant maintenance. Only when the technology gets improved and the cost comes down, it will then be feasible to use these 3D printed wrist splints in impoverished areas.

Watch the video interview from Solid Concepts below.

Source: Popsci


Posted in 3D Printing Applications



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Matt wrote at 8/7/2013 11:43:32 PM:

lol Joe, you took the words right out of my mouth.

Joe Larson wrote at 8/7/2013 5:29:22 PM:

Too bad you can't print it on anything less than a $10k 3D printer. These students have a different idea of "undeveloped" than I do.

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