Why you should be excited (and wary) about 3D printing

A helping hand for 3D printers

Why you should be excited (and wary) about 3D printing

[Image credit: Makerbot]

Apart from enabling you to endlessly entertain yourself by smashing little home-printed versions of your hated co-workers with a hammer, 3D printing is actually doing amazing things in the field of prosthetics.

Prosthetic devices, like most medical specialities, are traditionally quite expensive and not readily available to tons of disabled people, either due to poverty or the lack of medical facilities where they come from. So what if you accidentally cut your fingers off and you don’t have tens of thousands of dollars and/or your hospital doesn’t have a artificial limbs department? Well, you could settle for a hook and a pirate outfit, or you could print your own hand...a Robohand.

Open source 3D prosthetic designs means that anyone with a 3D printer could print a highly functional prosthetic hand - for $50 dollars instead of $42,000. Disabled adults and children all over the world are starting to reap the benefits of affordable prosthetics - which can be repaired, replaced and re-adapted cheaply, and quickly with the same 3D printing technology that created them in the first place (the prosthetics, not the people).

As a disclaimer, don’t go cutting off your hands so you can get a cool plastic one just to show off - no one likes a braggart.

READ MORE: Father 3D prints prosthetic hand for son