May 23, 2016 | By Alec

Dubai is known as an ambitious nation, and that ambition has even reached the world of 3D printing. As the Dubai Health Authority has just revealed, they will be implementing initiatives to develop a huge medical 3D printing sector that produces a wide range of new (biomedical) 3D printing applications. Among others, they will be looking to develop customizable 3D printed dentures, and are even planning to set up production platforms for 3D printed artificial limbs costing less than Dh400 (about $100 USD).

This new announcement is part of one of the biggest 3D printing adoption programs the world has seen so far. Known as keen adopters of state-of-the-art technology, Dubai recently unveiled their own Dubai 3D Printing Strategy, which aims to make the country the 3D printing capital of the world by 2030. Unveiled just last month by His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Prime Minister and Vice President of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai, this strategy will affect three main sectors in society: construction, medical products and consumer products.

It’s a strategy that was not completely unexpected, as the country has been a strong promotor of 3D printing initiatives. Last year, Sheikh Mohammed announced the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 plan, in which 3D printing will play an important role in helping Dubai become the most sustainable city in the world. These grand ambitions have been supplemented by several large-scale 3D printing projects, many of which are world firsts. These include using 3D printing to build Dubai’s Museum of the Future and the world’s first fully functional 3D printed office building.

As Dubai is known for its immense man-made islands, construction-based 3D printing will probably be the main focus of this new strategy. But as Humaid Al Qatami, chairman of the board and director general of the DHA announced, they also harbor significant medical ambitions. “To meet the Dubai 3D Printing Strategy, DHA has begun determining the work methodology, which ultimately aims to utilize technology for the service of humanity and promote the status of the UAE and Dubai as a leading hub of 3D printing technology by 2030,” he said. Their goal, he added, is to set up a medical 3D printing sector that is worth more than Dh1.3 billion (or $350 million USD) by 2025.

Al Qatami as chair of the DHA board.

That sector is expected to encompass a very wide range of 3D (bio)printed applications that can be used in all human health industries, and range from 3D printed casts, teeth to bio-implants. “We plan to produce ceramic teeth in less than 20 minutes, use 3D printing in orthopedic surgeries and create 3D printed casts, which will speed the heeling process of patients by 40 to 80 per cent. The strategy ultimately aims to make Dubai excel in different medical surgeries,” said Al Qatami. They will also be setting up various international (research) partnerships to explore, produce and export these applications.

But perhaps the most eye-catching initiative the Dubai Health Authority is looking into is a production platform for 3D printed prosthetic limbs that cost just $100. They are aiming to have the platform up and running by 2025, and is expected to focus on bionic limbs that feature sensors detecting muscle flexing. As hundreds of thousands of people around the world cannot currently afford prosthetic limbs, a $100 option would truly be revolutionary.

According to Saif Al Aleeli, the CEO of Dubai Future Foundation, the prosthetic limb plans are all part of their intentions to change patient treatment procedures as we know them. “Using 3D printing in medical printing is important as it is considered to be one of the most important fields given its direct link to human life. Through these initiatives, we plan on using the latest technologies as well as partnering with organizations who have experience in the field of 3D printing to find solutions for medical challenges,” he said. We’ll have to keep a close eye on Dubai from now on.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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