By Connor Tsuchida, Annapurni Sriram, Brianna McIntosh, Erin Inchinotsubo, Alexander Novokhodko
Entering the Third Dimension
What desperate patients currently wait months to years for, could soon be made in days. What use to be adapted for the body, can now be made of the body. Aside from prototyping and manufacturing, 3D printing, has found its niche in biotechnology and medicine. Whether printed to enhance, support, or replace components of the human anatomy, 3D printing has brought medicine to a place once reserved for science fiction.
The history of 3D printing is as rapid as the manufacturing process itself. In just three decades, the technology has evolved from layering plastic prototypes to printing functioning organs, capturing the imagination of hobbyists and medical researchers alike.
With strokes as the leading cause of long-term disability in the United States, impaired hand function due to the loss of blood flow to the brain has become increasingly more common. With the limited therapy resources and lack of exercise by the patients, there was a need to assist survivors with the rehabilitation of their hand motions. Two professors at Columbia University developed, MyHand, a biomechanical robotic glove designed to aid stroke survivors in the recovery of their motor skills. The lightweight, portable glove uses artificial tendons to mimic the muscles in the hand, making it easier for patients to complete everyday tasks. This product is still in the developing stages, but it is one that I will for sure keep my eye out for!
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