New technology revolutionizing the production of medical devices
TULSA, Okla. (KTUL) - Students from all over the world are coming to Tulsa to learn how to change lives with 3-D printing technology.
The machines are changing modern medicine by revolutionizing the production of medical devices.
Things like braces, casts and artificial limbs can be made quickly and to the most exact measurements.
A patient can be scanned in their doctor's office and be wearing a new brace the same day.
Rick Sevier is the instructor at the Steampunk Bionics Academy near Admiral and Sheridan and says 3-D printing can change the world.
"To go out there and be a part of putting a new arm on, or a new leg," he said. "Helping someone to continue to provide for their family that otherwise couldn't."
Sevier's students are excited about their futures.
Graduate student Helena Welsh from Dallas is amazed by the possibilities. She says she's stunned by the potential of the printers.
"Oh my gosh, you can do anything with this and make whatever and it's specific to the patient and it's time saving," Welsh said.
The raw material is heated, then the printer creates the exact image that's programmed into a computer in minutes or hours.
Plus, the process is inexpensive and portable.
Sevier said you can take a $200 3-D printer to a remote part of the world and run it with a solar panel. Then you can make an entire artificial leg for an amputee for about $100.
It's technology that could relieve a lot of pain and suffering on a global scale.
Florida student Robert Rios is excited about helping people get back to living their normal lives.
He says the new technology will help his family's prosthetic business evolve for the future.
"My father and other people in my family have done it from generation to generation and I love it," Rios said. "I wouldn't think of doing anything else."
He says it's amazing to see how people's attitudes change when they get the help they need.
Their instructor says they really can make a difference.
"I want leave the planet knowing that I changed it," Sevier said. "And I am!"
The 3-D printing classes are done as part of continuing education. Steampunk offers three and five-day classes that range from $750 to $1000.