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The device that helped a baby breathe again, custom designed and 3D printed.

3D printed bioresorbable splint helped save a baby's life

3D printing is used often in the design world to model things that you couldn't model manually (i.e. by hand) and the printers are getting more and more affordable, with some even becoming 'open source', so you can make your own using a design on the internet. The range of applications stretch to even the 3D printing of most of a gun, which is shocking and slightly disturbing.

3D printed cast for splint

Now there is a story of a bioresorbable splint being made by much finer biomedical processes that involve the scanning and modelling of a baby's breathing tube. Thanks to the University of Michigan and Glenn Green, M.D, with the cast (shown above), a skeleton can be made to help the breathing tube not collapse and then in 3 years time it will be reabsorbed into the body. There's engineering, medical design and materiality playing a big part in this innovation.

What's more, this concept may be able to be applied to other medical conditions. The custom made nature of the technology means that it is adaptable and with bodies being different from one to the other it will be great to see where this all goes.

Thanks to +Alice Pan for the heads up. It's been a few weeks since I've blogged - yesterday I had my mid-year presentation. Hopefully I'll find time to blog about it though! For other blogs on Creative Collision about science (and it does exist here as a category), visit the Science section.


  1. 3D printing seems to be taking the world by storm. Love your post, have you seen the article about a designer in New Zealand who 3D printed an arm cast? It allows your arm to breathe as it's like an exoskeleton.

    1. Yes I have! A really innovative way to rethink the arm cast.


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