Technology seems to be improving exponentially in recent years. Cellular phones are getting faster and smarter with increasing memory and processing capabilities surpassing the abilities of computers in recent memory. Televisions are bigger with more pixels creating high definition and even possessing the capacity to produce a 3D image. This ability to procure three dimensional televisions in our own home is an exciting advancement in technology. While it will be great to see the next great action movie at home with the explosions seemingly coming out of the television, and it will be interesting to see just how far this technology can grow. However, the development of a 3D television will not have a meaningful effect on the world or human life.
The invention with the greatest potential for changing the world as we know it, is a 3D technology we already possess. It has already begun to revolutionize the medical industry and challenges the preconceived realm of possibilities in medical applications. The revolutionary technology is the 3D printer. This technology, whose appearance has been likened to an espresso machine, could unassumingly save millions of lives. In pursuance of bringing this aid to humanity to fruition, allowing so many lives to be saved. Adequate attention to research and development is essential to the advancement in the medical benefits of this 3D printer. The 3D printer has already shown an abundance of potential in the fields of prosthetics, reconstructive surgery, and in lifesaving surgical applications, it will continue to advance in these applications, and positively affect the medical field by saving lives and creating better lives for the physically disabled.
One of the biggest obstacles to overcome for amputees is the cost of prosthetics. According to a recent study in the Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development the cost of a prosthetic for a patient that has lost their leg above the knee can be as much as $45,000, and a prosthetic hand could cost nearly $20,000 (Blough et al.). The staggering cost may not be affordable for people with insurance, and becoming almost impossible for anyone to afford without the help of insurance. This would require them to simply do without the prosthetic they need in order to do the simplest of task we take for granted every day, such as walking or being able to use two hands to pick up an object.
A recent story written in the article by Henn and Carpein shows just how tough life is for a child without a hand, and how the 3D printer changed his life. Leon McCarthy was born without fingers on his left hand and never had a prosthetic hand. When he was 12 years his dad Paul McCarthy found a YouTube video featuring the Robohand including instructions on how to build the hand using a 3D printer. According to Paul and Leon “Printing the parts (using a friend's borrowed 3-D printer) was easy” (qtd. in Henn and Carpein). The design used by Paul still needs to be improved upon, but...