The applications of 3D printing is simply mind-blowing. Let your imagination go wild and just think of some of the things that could happen. A good example of this is in the movie The Fifth Element which shows a fantastic 3D printer repairing the body of a crash victim with only the hand as a reference – far-fetched but amazing in concept.
In the future it’s conceivable to think that we will be able to create custom body parts and perhaps body parts with enhanced features. E.g imagine 3D printing a heart that was resistant to heart disease, that would be incredible –how would that change healthcare? And how would it affect how we use our bodies or view our bodies if we knew replace parts where easily accessible and in some cases better.
How about 3D printed eyes with zoom functions so that you can see further or perhaps even ‘light reactive corneas’ that auto tint when exposed to light – similar to the way cats pupils change shape to varying degrees of light. Or imagine 3D printed eyes that can interact with new tech such as Google Glass – it would be incredible and yet you must wonder what kind of access to this ‘digital real world’ would do to the workings of the human brain.
The rapid advancement in materials for 3D printing could also mean that different materials become compatible with the human body to enhance the physical limits of the body. Remember Johnny Mnemonic where the main character was couriering secret information with hardware implanted in his head? (Ouch!) Could it be possible to ‘mesh’ 3D printed materials with our body to create seamless interaction between body and technology without cutting sections of our brain out? In the future I believe so.
3D printing is a gateway to a host of wonderful and crazy new technologies, materials and applications for the human body as well as future medical retail platforms. It is already changing healthcare as it is but that is only the beginning, in the near future we will see 3D printed replacement body parts such, corneas, skin grafts, ears among others. In the long term its likely that a 3D printed heart will be created, perhaps lungs as well and finally how about a 3D Printed brain…how would that work?