It is the innovation that has is being used to create everything from a replacement pelvis to spare parts to digestible food for the elderly.
Now the 3D printer could be about to revolutionize the field of prescription medicines, by custom-making them for individual patients by delivering exactly the correct dose, to the nearest microgram.
Earlier last year the FDA approved the first 3D printed pill. Now, the National University of Singapore has developed a way to 3D print custom pills, so medication that needs to be taken at varying times during the day, at different dosages, can be produce as a single tablet.
Using simple computer software that doesn’t require specialist tech knowledge, doctors input the desired release schedule and dosages of the drugs. The program then produces a custom medication mold which can be printed by a commercially available 3D printer. The molds are created in parts, with each shape corresponding to the types of drugs being prescribed and the timing of doses. As well as printing different dosages for varying schedules, the single pills can also be printed to contain different drugs. Daily pill organizers may soon be obsolete as prescription medication becomes no more complicated than taking a single pill each day.
How else could 3D printing be used to simplify life?