3D printing is advancing in quite a few industries across the globe. It definitely is a pretty fascinating form of technology. First off, what is 3D printing? 3D printing is the two dimensional stacking of layers, as small as a few microns. A 3D printer will keep laying down hundreds of miniature two dimensional layers on top of each other, which will eventually form a three dimensional product of some kind! So in a nutshell, 3D printing is the layer by layer assembly of products. These 3D printers contain an intelligent computer which is pre-programmed to lay down these layers of material based off a 3D computer file, or a blueprint.
This technology is pretty cool if you ask me! It has been used for quite a few years within the prototyping industry, engineering industries, product development industries, and concept idea development. There is a large variety of applications for this technology. 3D printing can work as long as someone is willing to create a 3D file on the computer as a blueprint. If that can be filled, pretty much anything can be created. Let me highlight one industry that is miraculously affected by the 3D printing industry.
Currently, the medical industry is relatively new with working with 3D printing. Regardless, there are some serious innovations coming into practice between the two industries! Let me give you a great example. Right now, there has been a working vein created through 3D printing. A vein was produced; as in a functional, working blood vessel! The 3D printer used for this innovation had a tank filled with 'bio-ink.' It is pretty ridiculous to think that this kind of technology exists! Currently, organs aren't being produced through this technology... yet. Imagine when entire organs can be developed! Perhaps a liver is too damaged to continue working. Maybe a kidney is dying. Perhaps a lung isn't functional anymore. Maybe heart failure is a creeping possibility. What if, within our lifetime, 3D printing could begin to develop fully functional organs! How awesome would that be?!
I am no doctor, so I can't tell you exactly what would be required, but imagine laying down layers of stem cells and tissue? Healing our mortal bodies would become an entirely new project. This technology has also hit the medical industry with prosthetics, and implants. A woman actually severely damaged her jaw bone awhile back. Instead of doing a gruesome and inaccurate facial reconstruction job, doctors had a titanium jaw 3D created through 3D printing! This jaw only weighed slightly more than her old jaw, and functioned exactly how it was supposed to.
This technology has the potential to change the way we think about medical applications; it could be saving lives within the next 25 years. The thought of organ replication sounds a little ridiculous, but imagine how different the world will be after this project follows through? The world may not even be ready for this serious technology to impact the world, but doctors and bio-medical engineers are collaborating.