3D printers have been growing in both popularity and scope. Just a short while ago I wrote about 3D printers being used to reproduce human bones with a 3D-printed jaw bone replacement. In typical technological-growth patterns the technology is improving in folds, rapidly — something predicted long ago by Moore’s Law.
What nobody predicted in the near future though was that the home-building industry would get a MAJOR upgrade, to Home Printing. Yup, home printing. Thanks to the fast growth of 3D printing in additive manufacturing technology it is most-recently being applied to home manufacturing. Thanks to the inventive genius of Enrico Dini, founder of Moonlite UK and inventor of robotic building system D-Shape, we have entered a new era, where printing just got a LOT bigger.
Don’t you just love it when random technology advances non-technocratic fields? I do, which is why I got excited when I heard that they used a 3D printer to create an 83-year-old Belgian woman’s jawbone replacement.
After the woman’s jaw was infected, and effectively ruined by osteomyelitis, technicians at the University of Hasselt in Belgium built her a new one with their highly-advanced 3D printer. The team loaded the 3D printer with finely-ground titanium powder, and formed a jawbone to her specifications; a jawbone as good as the woman’s original. 3D-printed bone-replacement parts like this one are created by feeding information from MRIs and X-Rays into high-caliber 3D printing machines.
“This is a world premiere, the first time a patient specific implant has replaced the entire lower jaw,” says Jules Poukens, a lead researcher at the University of Hasselt. “It’s a cautious, but firm step.”