Hack Your Rib Cage with Titanium 3D Printing

A Spanish hospital recently replaced a significant amount of a man’s rib cage and sternum with a titanium replacement. Putting titanium inside people’s chests is nothing new, but what made this different was the implant was 3D printed to match his existing bone structure.

An Australian company, Anatomics, created the 3D print from high-resolution CT scans of the patient. They used a printer provided by an Australian Government corporate entity, CSIRO, that helps bring technology to Australian companies.

Biomedical printing has been in the news quite a bit lately and we’ve covered CT scan to 3D model conversions more than once. Is this the dawn of the age of the cyborg? Maybe it’s really mid¬†morning. Many people walk around with pacemakers, Vagus nerve stimulators, and plenty of more conventional titanium hardware in them now.

While the ethics of replacing a cancer patient’s rib cage is pretty clear, the real issue will be when people want enhancements just for the sake of it (think of the controversy surrounding runners with prosthetic legs, for example). It might seem far-fetched, but as replacements become better than originals, some people will want to opt for replacements for perfectly good body parts.

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Oh boy do we want to ride a giant inflatable robot

We’ve seen videos of people attaching chairs to gigantic welding robots and riding them around the shop, and while that would be fun for a little bit, the joy would be fleeting. Flight simulators built on a Stewart Platform are becoming old hat. Now there’s a new robot we want to ride.

[Saul Griffith] from Otherlab has been working on pneumatic robots for some time now, and he just wrapped up his Ant-Roach build seen above. It’s a 15-foot-long cross between an anteater and a cockroach that’s completely inflatable and can actually walk with the help of an air compressor.

The ‘muscles’ of the ant-roach are fabric actuators that contract when inflated. Of course this makes the mechanics look like something out a biology book, but the robot is still a neat piece of engineering. The ant-roach weighs in at 70 pounds but could probably support a half-ton of riders.

From the videos after the break, we can see that the ant-roach looks a little clumsy when walking. [Travis Deyle] sent in his contribution that details an amazing inflatable robotic arm that can beat any human in an arm wrestling match. Now we can’t wait for a giant anthropomorphized bouncy castle to start lumbering to a children’s carnival.

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