Much to my father’s utter disappointment I’m sure, I did not inherit the sci-fi appreciation gene. I never understood the cult phenomenon created by Star Trek and have always preferred living in the now over fantasizing about the future. While I’ll never be able to call myself a Trekkie, I have slowly gained an appreciation over the years for technology that seems to have been plucked right off the fictional starship USS Enterprise. A fascinating example of this, as Spock would say, is the rise of 3-D printing.
The advancement of 3-D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, is predicted to revolutionize the way medical devices are produced. This week, in a three-part series, Medical Device Daily will explore the potential of this seemingly science-fictional technology, the challenges it presents for the medical industry, and the areas of healthcare that it will likely have the greatest impact.
Some doctors and biomedical engineers have already saved lives with the help of 3-D printing, but the technology is still very much in its infancy. Nobody can know for certain just how much this ability to make solid objects from a digital file will change the medical landscape. But as Enterprise captain James Kirk might say, I can’t wait to watch as this science continues to boldly go where no technological development has gone before.