Wednesday, January 25, 2012

RapidPro 2012 - Additive Manufacturing for Dummies

AM - Additive Manufacturing.
Today I went to RapidPro 2012, a conference on rapid prototyping. In medicine this could be beneficial not only for modelling (where it is already used to model bone structures and skulls for preparation of interventions) but also for the, relatively cheap, construction of phantoms.
A presentation by Benjamin Denayer on 'additive manufacturing for dummies' showed that multiple techniques are now available to construct objects using additive manufacturing. They range in the way the model is built and the materials that are used. Also the resolution of the model varies with the different methods, up to 0.02 mm. When we would like to construct phantoms for CT or MR scanning the materials used to build the model are extremely important since they should have material properties that relate to the tissue we want to mimic.
Another challenge is that all systems are relying on CAD (Computer Aided Design) software data resulting in an STL file and not able to directly import DICOM data. The STL format contains a triangulation of the dataset resulting in a surface model of a certain resolution which can be used for the modeling.
Upcoming are the DIY systems that are cheap, open source, and easy to use.

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