Out of all the latest technological breakthroughs during the past decade, 3D printing technology is one of the biggest game changers, if not the biggest.
With the way 3D tech is advancing these days, it’s not that hard to imagine a future where you’d never need to buy anything from stores or order online. All you’d have to do is choose something – anything – from your computer, click “print,” and have it materialize right in front of you, including food.
It goes much further beyond that, as well. In the medical industry, 3D tech is used to create highly precise prosthetics, and even bioprinted cells and tissues, helping combat disease, illness, and disability like never before.
3D technology is definitely the stuff of magic, and it’s not just for us humans, it’s helping millions of animals also.
The tedious process of using plaster to create often inaccurate molds for prosthetic parts is now a thing of the past.
With 3D printing, veterinarians can now create 3D-printed parts that will perfectly fit disabled animals – all within minutes. 3D-printed prosthetics can help birds with damaged beaks, turtles with weakening shells, and horses with difficulty walking, to name a few.
Recently, a crowdfunding campaign helped Grecia, a Costa Rican toucan, regain the top half of his beak, which was damaged due to the cruel acts of a few delinquents.
Four local 3D tech companies participated in the effort, using professional-grade 3D scanners to recreate the damaged portion of Grecia’s beak.
Combating the black market
3D tech is now being used to save black rhinos as well. Numerous rhinos are mercilessly killed each year by poachers out to get their horns, a highly coveted item in today’s black market.
In a very creative effort to eliminate this trend, a Seattle-based biotech company used bioengineered keratins, the very same material found in organic rhino horns, to create 3D replicas that are indistinguishable from the real thing.
Producing a high volume of these 3D replicas to flood the black market will effectively reduce demand for this commodity – an excellent way to stop poachers in their tracks.