Skip to 0 minutes and 9 secondsLast week, we used 3D printing to create wearable prosthetics. During that process, we addressed four key questions-- the need, the design, material selection, and choosing the correct method of fabrication. This week, we will venture from the wearables to the implantables. And you will see how these four key questions still remain. We will see how they have been addressed in creating a polymeric glaucoma implant and a titanium heel.

Putting stuff into the body

Beginning with the Renaissance and Da Vinci’s anatomical investigations, the perception of the human body as a mysterious entity powered by spiritual forces began to wane. Early scientists revealed the body as a mechanical device, a contraption.

So, when a person became injured or sick, perhaps the faulty component could be identified and fixed. If the workings of the body part were well enough understood, perhaps it could be replaced by something artificial which restores function. A biological problem may have a non-biological solution.

Biomaterials, bionics and tissue engineering are relatively new fields and advances in these arenas are seen as pivotal to a new wave of medical practice. The recent concurrence of advances in these fields, in particular the development of highly biofunctional materials and the advent of 3D printing tools, has us poised on the verge of a revolution.

University of Wollongong, 3D Bioprinting: Printing parts for bodies, 2014, Wallace, G.G., Cornock, R.C., O’Connell, C.D., Beirne, S., Dodds, S., Gilbert, F.

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This video is from the free online course:

Bioprinting: 3D Printing Body Parts

University of Wollongong