3D Printers Brings Hands… and Happiness
Want the hand of a superhero? Now days you can with Wolverine… or awaken the source when you pull out your Star Wars light saber… or become Queen Elsa from Disney’s Frozen. According to the latest news, prosthetic limbs can be made for children in about 20 hours. It takes another two or three hours to assemble them.
I Have “Superpowers”
The most amazing part of the story? Recipients are excited about wearing the prosthesis rather than be ashamed of their difference. The kids no longer feel picked upon. Other, more “normal” kids don’t have their “superpowers.” Life has given them something special that a few years ago they couldn’t even dream of.
Technology Disruption Decreases Costs
Before the 3D printed option, an upper arm prosthetic cost between $3,000 to $30,000. The regulations vary by state, but most insurance carriers find a way to limit costs for prosthetic devices. Considering the growth rate of children who need replacements as they grow, the cost restrictions often worked against them. Now you can print a device about $50, so all of that starts to change for the better.
Bubble Bursting? Not So Fast
There has been some talk about the 3D printing bubble bursting. I think this technology follows the typical innovation development of tech lines. Those if you who remember the Internet and the dot.com bubble know the drill. 3D printing, or additive manufacturing as it is also called, needed to rid itself of some the the hype that surrounded its early years in the consumer market. As with the Internet, the dot.com bubble burst, but consumer access continued to grow.
The “Why” Matters
Like every other technology, investors, business owners, and the public need to look for a reason a company to stay in business. The “why.” If you can’t answer this query, then this business won’t last long. Great companies will not only answer that question, they will also be at the forefront of making a new, lost-cost way to give our kids a normal life. I’m excited about the future of 3D printing!