Going Dutch

Technology is moving along nicely in some areas, other areas not so nicely, but today’s post is a good news post, so we’ll concentrate on the first. 3-D printing is back in the news and we have seen previously how easy it is to fabricate plastic objects, thus making the future for bespoke items golden as they could be at least as cheap as mass produced ones, and probably with less waste.

The medical area has received attention with soft organs, complete with built in blood vessels looking possible. The printers can also print ceramics and these parts have been shown to work as a base scaffolding for bone to grow onto.  Prosthetic parts would appear to be a “no-brainer” too.

Now the BBC reports that an 83-year-old Dutch woman has had a new jaw fitted (1). It was made by Layerwise who have a print shop in Belgium, with input from Hasselt U. The lady was fitted up with this last June and is due to have a set of teeth torqued down into it shortly so that she’ll be able to nosh and gnash with the best of them.

The printer printed out titanium powder, which was fused one layer at a time with a laser and the jaw was finally finished with a layer of ceramic. The jawbone replacement weighs in a little heavier at 107 grams, but a few packs of chewing gum should build up the muscles.

This could end the professional boxer’s “glass jaw” at a stroke. Just like breast implants have become cosmetically popular, I can envision a future with many more manly square jaws in evidence along the main drags in Tinseltown and it’s wannabe lookalikes around the world.

  1. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-16907104

Leave a Reply