Today’s Solutions: December 01, 2023

Making a very simple prosthetic arm can cost $1,000 for the materials alone. But that’s all starting to change thanks to new and improved 3D scanning and printing technology, which can shrink the cost to as little as $4. In Guatemala, where some families might earn $50 in a month, one hospital is now using digital tech and other techniques to make prosthetics accessible for patients who couldn’t have afforded them in the past.

When the hospital opened in 2006, new digital technology existed but wasn’t yet feasible to use—not to mention it was expensive. A single ‘portable’ scanner was the size of a suitcase and would cost $50,000, according to US-based prosthetist Brent Wright, who travels to Guatemala twice a year to work at the hospital. Now, the costs are low enough that Wright can bring a handheld 3D scanner, 3D printers, and materials for printing with him from America.

Creating a typical prosthetic is a labor-intensive process, but with digital technology, the prosthetist only has to create a cast and 3D scan it. Once the scan is made, the file is sent to a 3D printer and produced. Of course, having a 3D printer on-site speeds up the process, but if that’s not the case, the file can still be sent to a 3D printer remotely where it is produced and shipped to where it’s needed. That’s the idea behind a nonprofit called LifeNabled that launched out of the Guatemalan hospital, which wants to train more people to take scans locally, and then send the files to printers elsewhere

Solutions News Source Print this article
More of Today's Solutions

Breaking the ice: Swedish city combats winter loneliness with “say hell...

In the frozen embrace of Luleå, where daylight dwindles to mere hours, plunging into icy seawater becomes a ritual. For Katariina Yliperttula, a dip ...

Read More

Construction project completes the world’s first 3D printed two-story home

Considered one of the largest sources of environmental pollution in the world, it’s no secret that the construction industry is in need of a ...

Read More

The Rockefeller Christmas Tree gets a charitable new life after the holidays

We once shared how a tiny owl was rescued from the branches of the Rockefeller Christmas Tree. Now we have more good news as ...

Read More

Biden administration launches to help us deal with extreme heat

It’s no secret that this summer season has been a scorcher, what with the increasing heatwaves in the US and raging wildfires across Europe. ...

Read More