One of the most interesting applications of 3D printing is medical uses. We've written about many different medical applications, ranging from printed tissue, to replacement bones. Today we ran across Alison Lewis's wonderful post describing her experience encountering custom printed prosthetics for amputees.
The procedure was to scan the patient's surviving leg and through the magic of 3D modelling, reverse its orientation to produce a perfectly symmetrical opposite leg. Printing the model yields a leg that fits. According to Lewis:
… for me, what is amazing is the transformative effects of this technology on the mind and body of the wearer. By scanning the other leg and printing out an almost exact replica, the prosthetic restores body symmetry. This visual symmetry improves the amputee’s sense of self.Imagine, if you will, the wind blowing on an amputee’s legs today while he/she is wearing pants. It would be obvious which leg is the fake one; however, with this new 3D printed method, the legs would ideally be the same size, shape, and width. The new legs also allows the person to wear the same size shoes on both feet. Think about what a difference this makes on a person's self esteem and personal identity.
That's the magic of 3D technology.