In medical science, 3D printing has a lot of contribution. With its help, researchers created a wheelchair that gives the highest comfort to the disabled, as well as artificial blood vessels that carry nutrients and self-assemble like the real thing. Now they want to use 3D printing to revolutionize medication delivery. Researchers from MIT and Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) are developing 3D printed objects, which change form at a particular temperature. This could lead them to a new medication delivery system that only treats patients with fever.
Though these temperature sensitive pills aren’t ready yet, the technology is halfway there. The researchers used a new 3D printing process called micro-stereolithography, combined it with a special polymer mix that softens or hardens based on different thermal conditions and created tiny structures that can remember their original shapes. These objects can be formed to a particular shape, locked to that shape at a different temperature, and finally jump back to their original shape at another temperature. Those printed structures are able to be twisted up and pulled to three times their original length without fracturing.
This new 3D printing process is so high resolution that researchers could print micron-scale features about as thin as a human hair. This is a pretty complicated process, but the potentiality is fairly wide. Researchers hope they can use it create biomedical devices, shape-changing solar cells, as well as aerospace components. Though they are not quite there yet, they are making the progress. The team has already created a tiny, intricately detailed replica of the Eiffel tower and a tool capable of grabbing and lifting small objects using the technology.