Here’s one instance where the doctor really CAN say “this won’t hurt a bit.” 4D-printed microneedles could perform of the medical functions of hypodermic needles – giving us vaccines and medicines, taking blood samples – except no shots. Plus: the story of a cat and her 3D-printed titanium paws.
You’ve heard of 3D printing, where machines can take a computer model and create a three-dimensional object from the design?
There’s also 4D printing, when that three-dimensional object is designed to change itself over time.
In this case, the 4D printed objects are designed to painlessly attach to living tissue.
I know that sounds a little cringey, so I want to stress the word “painlessly,” and explain that the idea here is that these little devices are designed to attach to us so they can transmit vaccines and medicines, and potentially take blood samples.
It’s got all of the medical functions of hypodermic needles, except the shots.
And the researchers say their microneedles adhere to tissue more effectively than previous ones.
Now we just need to figure out how to describe these things.
Will health officials have to remind us every winter to get our flu non-shots?
3D printing came in handy recently for Dymka the cat, who was found in the snow suffering from severe frostbite.
Veterinarians couldn’t save her paws, but they were able to help her, by scanning her legs and 3D printing prosthetic paws out of titanium.
They were able to do the same for at least one other kitty in the area, ao, yes, we now have bionic cats walking around the Earth.
I hope that isn’t too unsettling.