One of the first things that got me into 3D printing was the idea that it could be used to teach higher education students. In particular, I thought that the idea that it could be used to teach medical students of the utmost importance. My own undergraduate degree involved a lot of physiology, particularly the nervous system. Of course, like any student, you see diagrams of body parts and systems, but the 2D nature of it all can be hard to translate to the real world.
After studying the brain for some time, I was quite confronted when I first cut into a real sheep’s brain. The textbooks quite specifically differentiate between structures by using colours and thick lines, but when I cut into that sheep’s brain, it was all GREY with tracts of white. So trying to locate one specific part of the brain seemed near impossible 🙂
So the idea that we can print out 3D body parts, with high scale resolution was an amazing proposition. Now we have such high resolution scanning devices such as MRIs, it is possible to produce anatomically correct body parts that can be used by medical students anywhere around the world! This added third dimension will help with the learning process and not just transposing the knowledge from the 2D to the 3D. Check out this interview with Monash University Professor, Paul McMenamin.