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3-D printing exoskeletons

3-D printing can be a god-send to those whom whether by nature or tramatic incident have some kind of disability. One use for 3-D printing is creating exoskeletons that would allow for a person to walk or use limbs they would otherwise be unable to. The article below talks about one of those cases.

http://www.cnn.com/2014/04/02/health/robot-exoskeleton-wrex-mohn/index.html


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The Next Frontier in 3-D Printing: Human Organs

We have all seen or read those Science Fiction stories where humans make clones of themselves to harvest them for organs and the ethical ramifications that would entail.  This CNN article on 3-D printing shows that this might not be a reality we have to face eventually.

http://www.cnn.com/2014/04/03/tech/innovation/3-d-printing-human-organs/index.html


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Ethics of Bioprinting Organs

Over a 100,000 people are on the waiting list for an organ transplant that could save their life. Although we are a few decades of from clearing up all the technical problems that comes with 3D-printed organs we have to begin to think about the ethical issues that will come with Bioprinting. This type of technology could save many people if they can afford it.

3D Printing will allow for personalized treatments for many different kinds of ailments. However, like today anything that you are not able to mass produce will be costly and printing functioning organs is extremely complex. We have to ask the question related to money first. Would everyone be able to afford these treatments and if not should we deny those who could afford the treatment? Is it fair to leave those who cannot afford it on the organ transplant list not knowing if an organ will arrive in time to save their lives?

Another issue that will come up with Bioprinting is during clinical trials. Those who try these new technologies first will be desperate and will serve as guinea pigs.With any new technology there will be a lot of failure before we figure out the right methods and techniques required to be successful and in many cases patients are not fully aware of this fact. They put their faith in the hands of their doctor who may or may not explain the procedure and the risks completely. Who will be making sure that doctors do not coerce the patients into having a procedure which my potentially do more harm then good just to further their research?

In 2004 the Biomedical Engineering Society approved a code of ethics. The ethics code addresses many of the issues that I have talked about today but who is making sure that bioengineers  follow these guidelines. 3D printing will be affecting our lives and our society in ways that we can only begin to imagine. It is vital to start dealing with the many ethical issues we will face as we move forward with Bioengineering.

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3D Printed Organs – Who Deserves Them?

 

Since the possibility of creating organic tissue and working human organs was made possible through the 3D printing revolution, there has been a continuous debate over how ethical such science really is. Some of the questions revolving around this technology were listed by the Research Director at Gartner, Pete Basilliere in an article by The Telegraph earlier this year:

“What happens when complex ‘enhanced’ organs involving non-human cells are made? Who will control the ability to produce them? Who will ensure the quality of the resulting organs?”

Who would be able to sensibly answer some of these questions anyway? It is no secret that distrust exists between the public and pharmaceutical companies, and the bodies that are supposed to govern them (FDA). Who would really be in charge of producing and distributing these organs?

Another question I’ve been thinking about lately is who would or would not be eligible for “printed” organs? Suppose in the next 20 years this technology becomes the norm. Would inmates also be included to receive such healthcare, or would they not be deemed worthy members of society. It’s already largely debated whether prison inmates should be allowed to become organ donors or not, so how would the general public react to them receiving full organs?

As this technology grows, the debate will undoubtedly continue. What are your thoughts on the matter? Feel free to comment on this article or on our Twitter page!


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3D Printing News: Artificial Ears

Researchers have found a way to print 3D ears . This would not only help children born with deformities but also people who have last part or all of their ear in some form of accident or cancer. This is an amazing feat and one to change the future for the better.

3D printing is turning out to be an amazing discovery for science and medicine. However, we need to also think about the negative side effects that will undoubtedly effect our society. Should we freely be allowed to build and replace any body part or organ that stops working ? We have all read the books and seen the movies about humanoids who destroy our planet. The idea of a living robot is now not such a far fetched thought.

 

“Hear this: 3-D printing creates lifelike artificial ears; the prosthetic look and feel like the real thing, and could help accident victims or those with cancer.” Consumer Health News [English] 20 Feb. 2013. Business Insights: Essentials. Web. 30 Mar. 2014.
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