Medicine leaps into the future, thanks to the newest in technology and design
The voxel is a unit used when 3D printing multiple materials, and can be organized in a multitude of patterns in order to control how a 3D printed object will behave. It provides a great level of control, and together with innovative technology systems, and powerful data sets, there is strong potential to change the landscape of additive manufacturing (3D printing). New opportunities are arising for collaboration between design and medicine within the field of orthotic care thanks to the combination of voxel level print details and the sharing of anatomical data sets.
A whole new world of patient care
This is the idea that is being presented by Voxel Harvest- a manufacturing research and design venture that is being developed at the Singapore University of Technology and Design started by Architect Nathan Kiatkulpiboone, and Professor Sayjel Vijay Pate. Voxel Harvest is developing a new and innovative manufacturing platform to support design collaboration, and data-sharing with the SUTD Digital Manufacturing and Design Center. By utilizing automated image data sets, Voxel Harvest allows for the creation of custom orthotic devices with high-resolution micro-structures and textures on the Stratasys J750 multi-material 3D printer. This opens up a whole new world of possibilities in orthotic care as patient’s needs are being specifically addressed on a case-to-case basis.
Voxel Harvest offers meta-material programming capabilities that allow for new and unique designs that are both bio-medical and wearable. Users are now able to program voxel data sets, and thereby add microscopic features that will aid in controlling temperature and pressure. These new technology advancements are evident it was used to design a custom orthotic device to treat patients’ foot injury by using temperature control and compression.
This new Voxel Harvest technology has the ability to enhance patient treatment plans by creating individualized multifunction products that are specific to their needs. Voxel Harvest tailors orthotic devices to the individual through the use of microstructures to control elasticity, texturized structures to act as a second skin, and fluidics and durability to modulate material expansion and temperature.
Voxel Harvest has proven how 3D printing and scanning is changing the world of technology and medicine. They are the recipient of the 2018 Red Dot Design Award Honorable Mention, and their designs are on display at the Red Dot Design Museum in Singapore through 2019. Nathan Kiatkupiboone is the Innovation Lead at Blink Design Group and Sayjel Vijay Patel is currently a Founding Professor at the Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation.
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