3D printing might disrupt an industry that has so far shown to be fairly disruption-proof: the health-care industry.
Described as the third industrial revolution and the driving force behind a manufacturing renaissance in America's industrial heartland, 3D printing might also disrupt an industry that has so far shown to be fairly disruption-proof: the health-care industry. New 3-D bioprinters are already capable of printing out everything from dental fixtures and prosthetic limbs to custom hearing aids. Researchers at Wake Forest have just proven, as the latest proof of concept, that it’s theoretically possible to print out human cartilage for implants, an important next step on the path to printing complex human tissue and even human organs.
The future of health care, viewed in 3D, is rather astounding. Imagine printing out replacement tissue patches during the course of a game for injured professional athletes, printing out a brand-new heart as a retirement gift for your older loved ones (nothing says “I love you” like a beating heart made out of real human tissue), skipping the long queue for organ transplants by printing up a new kidney in your garage, or shopping for designer prosthetic limbs (known as "fairings") the same way you currently shop for clothes online.