Giving A Hand To Inspiring Three-Dimensional Printing Technology Projects To Support Developing Nations

There are a plethora of things 3D printers can be employed to aid developing nations. For example, a hand 3D scanner can enable the medical profession to simplify medical imaging.

MACHARIOCH (I-Newswire) May 1, 2014 - Sarginsons, a cutting edge UK die casting specialist have recently been involved with nearby Warwick University on an innovative student project with a goal to help communities across the developing world using innovative 3D printing.

In February Sarginsons were approached by the university about an innovative collaboration project that focuses on the potential for 3D printing technology and its capabilities for struggling communities across the developing world.

The idea being that as many communities in the developing world struggle with acquiring common components and objects, 3D printing is emerging as a viable option for rapid prototyping, and manufacturing one-off items, without the need for skilled labour and expensive machinery. For Sarginsons' part, they were asked to draw on our skilled team to produce four aluminum components based on 3D prints designed and created by students, which would be later used as moulds.

Thanks to the skilled help of the Sarginson's team, the students at Warwick University are one step closer to their goal of creating a low cost, easy to run 3D scanner, for developing nations. Anthony Evans, Sarginsons managing director, said: "We are thankful to Warwick University for asking us to take part in such a worthwhile project, and we wish the students the very best for the future. "We pride ourselves on innovation, and having a committed, highly-skilled workforce, and we hope we can step-up to provide students with our help and expertise in the future."

There are a plethora of ways 3D printers and scanners could be employed to support developing nations. For example, a hand 3D scanner has the potential simplify medical imaging.

Although there are various efforts under way to create a working Star Trek-like medical tricorder, such a device isn't available for general use just yet. In the meantime, however, doctor's offices may soon be equipped a piece of equipment that wouldn't look at all out of place in the sick bay of the Enterprise. Developed by engineers from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, it's a hand-held scanning device that provides real-time three-dimensional images of the insides of patients' bodies.

The digital scanner makes use of optical coherence tomography (OCT), which has recently been described as "optical ultrasound," in that it employs reflected light, in contrast to reflected sound, to visualize internal structures. Along with an OCT system, the unit also contains a near-infrared light source, a video camera for obtaining images of surface features at a scan location, and a microelectromechanical systems (MEMS)-based scanner for leading the light.

The technicians anticipate that the scanner could be used right inside doctor's offices or clinics, to gauge hard-to-see-from-the-outside ailments such as ear problems. It can possibly be specifically valuable when examining diabetic patients, as it could be used to track the health of their retinas. Doing this may discover retinopathy, that may cause blindness, before it gets too far.

Additionally, it is expected that the scanner will allow health care specialists in developing nations to better appraise the health of the patients than would alternatively be possible. This type of project, in addition to the one at the University of Warwickshire may become important uses of latest technologies in developing nations, now and in the future.

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May 1, 2014

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