Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Monday, February 15, 2016

3D printing is now for kids (and fake ears)


Want to know how far 3D Printing has advanced?

Mattel (best known for Barbie and Hot Wheels) will soon release a $300, child-safe printer model under its previous ThingMaker name to let users design and fabricate their own toys and jewelry.
Sure, it's not the first inexpensive 3D printer, but if Mattel manages to make the overall printing and designing experience easy enough for children, it could be on to something huge. It gives kids some early training in 3D design, which will likely be increasingly important over the next few decades. Similar to Minecraft, it's also an ideal way for kids to use technology creatively. And, if it takes off, you can bet Mattel will make bank from accessory purchases.
Meanwhile, scientists are now implanting 3D printed bone, muscle, and cartilage into animals - and printing it all in human size.
Five months after implantation, the bone tissue looked similar to normal bone, complete with blood vessels and with no dead areas, the research team reported in Nature Biotechnology.

Human-sized ear implants looked like normal cartilage under the microscope, with blood vessels supplying the outer regions and no circulation in the inner regions (as in native cartilage). The fact that there were viable cells in the inner regions suggested that they had received adequate nutrition.

Results with 3D-printed skeletal muscle were equally impressive. Not only did the implants look like normal muscle when examined two weeks after implantation, but the implants also contracted like immature, developing muscle when stimulated.
Perhaps today's teenage toy-makers will even turn into tomorrow's top-tier surgeons.

Russian Zika, Hawaiian Dengue...Jamaican Reggae?

We have reached the point where mosquito-borne diseases are no longer stuck in the places they came from.

For example, the birth deformation-linked Zika virus has now been detected in Russia
"The first infection with Zika has been recorded. This is a 36-year old Russian woman who was in the Dominican Republic and came back to the Russian Federation in February," Skvortsova told reporters at a UN briefing on Russia's Ebola vaccine.
Meanwhile, the spectre of Zika and the confirmed presence dengue fever have created a state of emergency in Hawaii.
There have been no locally transmitted cases of the Zika virus in Hawaii, Ige said in a news conference Friday. But there's concern that the islands could be at risk because mosquitoes that can carry dengue fever also can carry the Zika virus.
How are governments supposed to fight the spread of diseases like these?

Well, Hawaiian officials have one strategy.
Hawaii is rushing to build up its mosquito control staff after a December report from the Centers for Disease Control highlighted deficiencies in the state's vector control department. The state slashed its mosquito control and entomology staff during the economic downturn, from 56 employees in 2009 to 25 positions in 2016. Health officials are now searching for funding to rebuild the staff, and the Department of Health plans to hire 10 new staffers with money the governor released, said Virginia Pressler, director of department, on Friday.
Jamaican officials have another.

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