3D printing prosthetics pioneer speaks at Wired Next Gen conference
Corey is a 3D printing enthusiast with an interest in all tech news and the wider impact of additive manufacturing.
3D printing prosthetic enterprise Open Bionics showcased, at Wired’s Next Generation event in London over the weekend, their ability to 3D print affordable prosthetic limbs. The talk was given by COO and co-founder Samantha Payne at the event run by Wired specifically for 12-18 year olds. Open Bionics announced that they will make the 3D printing files available to all and also wish to share this code, allowing the millions of people who would benefit from arm prosthetics to be able to print their own arms.
The benefits of 3D printed arms
There is certainly a need for this technology particularly since, according to Open Bionics, there are two million upper arm amputees in the word. The 3D printed arm from Open Bionics is both more affordable and more time-effective and Open Bionics explain their 3D printed arm is 30 times cheaper than other products on the market and can take less than two days to create.
This news means not only will arm amputees be able to 3D print their own functioning arms, but they will also be able to customize and personalize them. The aspect of customization means further empowerment to their users, allowing an amputee to express their arm as part of their identity. This has particular impact on young arm amputees, who as Payne showcased at the event, will be able to replicate their favorite superheroes. Child arm amputees will now be able to reach a level-playing field with their peers in performing similar actions with their hands and also they will be the envy of others with their impressive futuristic arms. This is important for Payne who believes the replacement arms should be an expression of the wearer.
Open Bionics are empowering child amputees
The Bristol based company represented the empowerment this can give amputees and particularly child amputees, with the aid of a young girl named Tilly. Tilly was just 15 months old when she contracted meningitis septicemia and has never had great success with replacement limbs: comparing her first to a puppet hand. Now equipped with her Open Bionics prosthetic limb she can fully move her hand and perform complex movements. The arms work using electromyography sensors to track the electrical activity of the arm muscles which then tell the Open Bionics arm how to move the hand. Payne’s desire is “to change children who have limb differences into bionic superheroes.”
3D printing or Additive manufacturing is a process of making a three-dimensional solid object of virtually any shape from a digital model. 3D printing is achieved using an additive process, where successive layers of material are laid down in different shapes. 3D printing is also considered distinct from traditional machining techniques, which mostly rely on the removal of material by methods such as cutting or drilling (subtractive processes).
A 3D printer is a limited type of industrial robot that is capable of carrying out an additive process under computer control.
While 3D printing technology has been around since the 1980s, it was not until the early 2010s that the printers became widely available commercially. The first working 3D printer was created in 1984 by Chuck Hull of 3D Systems Corp. Since the start of the 21st century there has been a large growth in the sales of these machines, and their price has dropped substantially. According to Wohlers Associates, a consultancy, the market for 3D printers and services was worth $2.2 billion worldwide in 2012, up 29% from 2011.[
The 3D printing technology is used for both prototyping and distributed manufacturing with applications in architecture, construction (AEC), industrial design, automotive, aerospace, military, engineering, civil engineering, dental and medical industries, biotech (human tissue replacement), fashion, footwear, jewelry, eyewear, education, geographic information systems, food, and many other fields. One study has found that open source 3D printing could become a mass market item because domestic 3D printers can offset their capital costs by enabling consumers to avoid costs associated with purchasing common household objects.
3D Printable Models
3D printable models may be created with a computer aided design package or via 3D scanner. The manual modeling process of preparing geometric data for 3D computer graphics is similar to plastic arts such as sculpting. 3D scanning is a process of analyzing and collecting data of real object; its shape and appearance and builds digital, three dimensional models.