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Photos: Awesome things you didn't know were 3D printed

3D printed heart model

A 14-month old boy needed heart surgery to save his life, as he was born with four heart defects. Doctors at Kosair Children's hospital partnered with University of Louisville physicians and engineers to create a 3D printed model of his heart using images from his CT scan. It was 1.5 times the size of his heart and cost $600 and 20 hours to make. The little boy's heart was repaired with one operation.

For more on 3D printing, see: 

-Photos: 3D printers, a tour of the top models 

-The dark side of 3D printing: 10 things to watch 

-10 facts on 3D printing: Understanding tech's next big game-changer





Image: University of Louisville

About

Lyndsey Gilpin is a Staff Writer for TechRepublic. She covers sustainability, tech leadership, 3D printing, and social entrepreneurship. She's co-author of the upcoming book, Follow the Geeks (bit.ly/ftgeeks).

6 comments
jmatcob
jmatcob

reminds me of Jacque Fresco and some of the things he was going on about back in the 70s.

and of course, star trek with their replicators.

as tool makers, humans have made huge progress (not always in the right direction though. lol) but it is so great to see so many wonderful, useful applications that 3d printing robots are being put to.

and with the heart issue, i have seen that they are using 3d printers to lay down cells to print living tissue.

kudos to all the people that use this technology to advance humanity.

BPF53
BPF53

The technology to build a real replacement heart (using the patients own cells) is about 10+ years away. One of the major problems is the software coding needed to print the veins, values; etc needed for the 3D organ to function. Other organs of less complexity will come first, but once the Pandora's box is open replacement organ parts will take about 24hrs to create. It's has "3D printing" amazing possibilities in many fields from organs, to 3D printing of homes, space platforms/bases to mention a few.  

SelfGovern
SelfGovern

If you read the article, it was a model of the boy's heart that was printed.  A model, not a replacement.  Doing just a bit of reading between the lines, the model, created from pre-surgery CT scans, allowed the doctors to understand the defects in the boy's heart, in order to be able to develop a plan for repairing them.   The insight gained from the model allowed them to make repairs to all four defective areas during the same process, vs. (implied) doing surgery without access to the model, where they might have had to fix one or two problems while doing exploratory surgery on the other problems, followed by developing a plan, followed by a second or third surgery to fix the remaining problems.


It was a model because it was not, and was not designed to be, a working heart -- just like you could build a 1:2 or 1.5:1 model of a tree.  The model isn't a tree, it's a representation of a tree, no matter what size it is.  His heart was repaired, because mechanical hearts aren't ready for prime time (or at least, life time) -- especially (as implied) in a newborn (or near-newborn) infant.

bobcglewis
bobcglewis

What are you saying here?  They inserted a 1.5X size plastic heart in this kid?  If so, why do you call it a a "model"? And how come his heart was "repaired" - as opposed to 'replaced'. What are you actually trying to say?.  This report sounds like technodrunk bullshit.  What function did this plastic extruding cake icer actually play?

kwarren84
kwarren84

Do you have more information on technology used to make the heart?

jrbwalk
jrbwalk

@SelfGovern Have they gone past stem cell tissue? I don't keep up with this stuff. I would think you can regenerate tissue by growing it in a petri dish...but for it to organize as it does in the human body just seems beyond fathomable to me.  What could you have, besides a blob of heart tissue in the shape of a heart that beats?