#3D Printing Our Way to Better Health

Posted by acleveland on October 28, 2011

:: How 3D Printing And Augmented Reality Can Help Design Better Drugs

This rapidly evolving industry is now tasked with improving the medicines we so heavily relay on.  At Arthur Olson’s Molecular Graphics Lab, pathbreaking work is being achieved in the complex world of desiging cleaner and more effective drugs.  He uses 3D printers to spit out physical models of drugs and enzymes, and attaches augmented-reality tags to them so that computer vision can help his researchers find the optimal fit.  The reason this approach is worth exploring is that designing drugs comes down to piecing together the molecular structure of their chemical parts in the best possible way, so that they literally latch onto the surface of their targets like a magnetic Tetris piece.  Tactile feedback is a very powerful tool for this kind of puzzle-solving, which is where Olson’s 3D-printed models come in – think of it like playing with a Rubik’s cube, except the solution may help cure HIV.

One day we will all look back at companies like 3D Systems, Quickparts, Stratasys & Objet and thank them for their contributions to the advancement of 3D Printing (a.k.a Additive Manufacturing).

 

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