May 15, 2013
A 60 year-old British restaurant manager who was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer, has become the first person to receive a prosthetic manufactured exclusively on a 3D printer. Since the recent introduction of fully-functional 3D printing capabilities, this represents the first time a person's life and dignity have been saved via printing technology.
When an aggressively-growing tennis ball-sized tumor was found growing below the left side of Eric Moger's face, the 60 year-old British restaurant manager was forced to undergo emergency surgery to save his life. During the surgery, Moger essentially lost the entire left side of his face, including the ability to eat, drink, or taste. His life had been changed drastically and almost instantly.
The First of Many 3D Printer Advances?
It was his surgeon who recommended he see Dr Andrew Dawood, a colleague who focused on specializes in dental implants and complicated dental procedures. After intensive evaluation, including hundreds of detailed scans of Moger's skull, jaw and facial structures, Dr Dawood was able to produce a highly-detailed face implant. Remarkably, the implant is a perfect match for skin tone, and closely matches his natural expressions and features.
This is a remarkable story for a number of not-so-obvious reasons. While this strikes many as almost unbelievable, we are just now entering the dawn of 3-D printers and advanced 3-D printing technology. In just under a few years' time, we've arrived at the point where we can make faces for those dealing with injuries, scars and other problems. This is arguably one of the best examples of leading-edge technology, being used to improve real people's lives.
Considering that we're only at the cusp of 3D print technology, just imagine what we'll be printing in our homes and offices in say, ten years from now. One thing remain unchallenged, it will definitely be fun to watch this sector of the industry evolve.
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