Dec 7, 2014 | By Kira

Two Italian-based startups with huge ambitions for the 3D printing industry have just announced a partnership that they hope will change the world for the better by merging biomedical technology with 3D printing.

Sharebot, a young startup that designs and manufactures 3D printers in Italy, and Open BioMedical Initiative, a nonprofit organization with the goal of creating low-cost, open-source 3D printable biomedical technologies, will work together to make 3D printed technologies, such as hand prostheses for amputees, more accessible and affordable.

OBM Initiative is committed to the philosophy of open-source development, a model that promotes universal access via a free license to the product's design or blueprint. This means that anyone is interested in contributing to and improving the project can have access to it at no cost. Such a philosophy promotes the idea that sharing and collaboration are the keys to success. Their website serves as a platform where engineers, doctors, biotechnologists, makers, enthusiasts and curious people can access projects, communicate, and share ideas from anywhere in the world.

The reason they are so committed to open-source development is clear: biomedical technology can save peoples' lives, yet it is prohibitively expensive for most. According to the Initiative, there are currently more than 30 million people who need prostheses yet 80% of them simply cannot afford to pay. In addition, 60% of hospitals, medical centers and humanitarian communities in need of biomedical technologies are using makeshift equipment.

Access to 3D printing technology also makes low-cost development possible. Sharebot was founded in 2012 by two Italian entrepreneurs. Their third-generation 3D printers are designed to be easy to use and capable of rapid prototyping available at home or in the office with 'semi-professional' results. Once again, the idea is to break down the barriers of high-cost equipment and research, making the playing field more level for all.

Sharebot Next Generation 3D Printer

Together, OBM and Sharebot's goal is not to compete with the most advanced, accurate and reliable biomedical technology available, but to offer a "technologically inferior" yet "equally safe" alternative when other options are not available. Eventually, these options could be the first choice for those who prefer them.

"People, hospitals, medical centres and humanitarian communities in every part of the world will have the chance to make what they need with a high degree of customization," writes OBM. "It will be sufficient to download vector images with relative documentation and then present the software."

OBM is always looking for fresh minds who can help strengthen their mission, and their website provides the opportunity to connect with them directly. "We want this project to be done by everyone, for everyone. Any help is precious and no matter what your job, your social position, your cultural background or your place of residence: each person can do good in countless ways."

The OBM and Sharebot partnership is just one example of how collaboration and the sharing philosophy can be used to improve the lives of others. Hopefully this trend catches on, as when great minds come together, the results can be truly astonishing.


Posted in 3D Printing Company


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