We might still be years away from being able to easily print functional organs that could be used in humans, but there are still other applications for 3-D printing technology in healthcare using (for lack of a better word) simpler printing methods.
For example, we’ve heard of places using CT scan images and 3-D printers to create 3-D models used for surgery planning, and others using them to make custom dental or hearing aid fixtures.
To see how people are using 3-D printers, I spent some time at a place called Thingiverse (@Thingiverse). It’s the virtual community of MakerBot, a maker of commercial 3-D printers, where people share their digital designs for others to use. Turns out, there’s some really cool stuff being made.
Here are a few interesting models people have created that could have potential applications in healthcare.
Human foot model
Piece to attach an iPhone to a microscope
Human heart model
Transfer RNA model
Medical ID bracelet for allergies or medications
Human inner ear model
To see more 3-D-printed creations, browse all of the Thingiverse categories.