MIT researchers have developed a 3D-printable mesh that could provide personalized support for joints or help heal injuries.
While there are already many 3D-printed materials being used in medicine, the mesh from the MIT team is unique in that it is pliable yet strong. The meshes were inspired by the structure of collagen and fabrics, and are made up of wavy patterns of thermoplastic polyurethane. The stiffness of the mesh can be tailored to suit the needs of the patient—such as an ankle brace that prevents the ankle from moving inward and a knee brace that conforms to the knee as it bends.
According to associate professor A. John Hart, “The beauty of this technique lies in its simplicity and versatility. Mesh can be made on a basic desktop 3-D printer, and the mechanics can be tailored to precisely match those of soft tissue.”
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