Need a Space Invaders toilet paper holder? A collapsible coffee cup sleeve? A cable management hive? These are just a few of the useful household items that 3d printing makes possible.
I was inspired to take a look at the latest in 3D printing because Mike Gleason, one of our developers, is actually building a 3D printer in his off time. We’re all putting in our orders for skull-shaped pencil holders, soap dishes and little mushroom cap houses. But there are other applications for this technology, particularly around health care that are pretty fascinating.
The Los Angeles County Medical Association is one of our content marketing clients. As part of the social media management we do for them, we recognized February as Heart Month and posted a story about an LA doctor who saved a baby’s life with a 3D printer.
Pediatric Interventional Cardiologist Frank Ing works at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. When his 18 month old patient Nate Yamane’s pulmonary artery began narrowing due to a life-threatening heart condition, Dr. Ing needed an infant-sized stent to save the baby’s life and it had to be sized perfectly. Dr. Ing used a CT scan of Nate’s heart to create the 3D printed model. It worked and Nate’s oxygen levels improved overnight.
Another story that we love comes from the Not Impossible Labs. CEO Mick Ebeling traveled illegally to Sudan with a 3D printer in tow back in 2014. He read about Daniel, “a Sudanese boy whose arms are blown off during a bombing of his village and is incited to help. He illegally travels to the Nuba Mountains to find Daniel and make him a prosthetic arm.” From there he taught the locals how to use the printer so others could be helped.
Organs and skin grafts may soon be possible and the presenters at HIMSS 2017 (Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society) are gearing up for their annual conference starting next week. With 1,200 exhibitors sharing technological innovation in the healthcare world, things should get pretty interesting. 3D printing developments are scheduled to be featured.
At Taylor Digital, we have more than a passing interest in healthcare technology and development. Mike is actually a perfect example. He’s hoping to have calibration issues resolved this weekend on the printer he’s built. When I asked for his comments on the 3D printer world, he said, “It’s harder than it looks” and then he explained the difference between Fused deposition modeling (FDM), Stereolithography (SLA) and Digital Light Processing (DLP). Even with this knowledge base, chances are that Mike won’t be generating stem cells or skin grafts anytime soon. But the same passion he brings to building a 3D printer from the ground up, he also brings to his work with clients every day at Taylor Digital. We collaborate, problem solve and build solutions for clients.
And I’m proud of our team. In healthcare, we’ve had real success in developing a custom web application that increased revenue streams for a hospital system. We continue our relationship with the LA County Medical Association in website design and maintenance as well as with social media management and analytics as they track thousands of members and employ a strong recruitment campaign. We’ve got another client on the verge of launching the site we built for them. They’re an internationally recognized leader in wearable medical technology. Come to think of it – maybe we will need Mike’s 3D printer after all.