When I was growing up, I hated drinking milk, and so had to take these giant, brown, disgusting calcium pills every night with dinner. My mother used to call them ‘horse pills’ because of how large they were, and I can still remember the taste of their sickly sweet coating – if I’d had a choice in the matter, I would have requested that they taste like peppermint and be any color in the world but brown. While this was sadly not an option back then, pharmaceutical company FabRx, a spin-off of the University College London’s School of Pharmacy, is teaming up with Katjes Magic Candy Factory to make it a reality now.
“We want to use 3D printing to change the face of medicines manufacture and provide better access to medicines, especially for children,” explained FabRx co-founder and Development Director Dr. Alvaro Goyanes.
FabRx is one of the first companies to pursue the idea of personalized, 3D printed medicine, in the form of its Printlets. 3D printing in the pharmaceutical field is a fascinating concept – the technology can be used to create pills that contain the exact dosage of every medication a patient needs in a single tablet, along with special fast-dissolving pills for people who have difficulty swallowing regular ones.
Now, FabRx and the Magic Candy Factory are working to develop the first confectionary 3D printer for the pharmaceutical industry, and just launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise money and awareness for the project this week.
The goal is to modify and adapt one of the Magic Candy Factory’s existing 3D printers so it can produce personalized medicines, mainly geared toward children, but with the ability to print precise doses, a combination of multiple drugs, and different formulations, like capsules and chewables.
“A major limitation of medicines today is that they are only manufactured in a limited number of strengths,” the campaign page reads. “But, what if we need a dose that is not available on the market? This is of special importance to children and the elderly. The tablets and capsules we take every day are not designed with children in mind, often making administration difficult.”
Incorrect doses, terrible taste, and being difficult to swallow are only a few of the issues doctors, and parents, face when trying to give children safe and effective medicine. The campaign quotes UNICEF when it says that 10 million kids under the age of five will die this year, and that 67% of that massive number could be saved by specific pediatric products, like better medicine.
FabRx and the Magic Candy Factory will work to develop the new 3D printer, and software, so that it can be used to prepare personalized medicines on-demand in hospitals or pharmacies, using parameters such as dose, drug, and shape; they can even come in different tasty flavors, like lemon and strawberry.
There’s over a month to go in the Kickstarter campaign, with plenty of great rewards left: a $20 pledge will get you a special refrigerator magnet and four 3D printed, chewable Printlets in different shapes and flavors, while a $75 pledge means you will receive a specially personalized Printlet with your face on it.
Another product that people like to personalize is jewelry, and product designer Gabi Potsa, who represents Amsterdam-based design and prototyping studio Local Makers, has launched her own Kickstarter campaign for a new 3D printed jewelry design concept called OneDay. You may recognize Local Makers from the Kickstarter campaign it launched this fall for 3D printed copies of people’s homes, hand-painted in the Delft Blue style.
Thanks to wax 3D printing and parametric design, OneDay is a customizable jewelry line which honors the specific date of a customer’s own choosing, between January 1st, 1918 and December 31st, 2018. Then, Local Makers turns that date into a 3D printed floral spirograph design, based on the calendar.
“Every date results in a different design, making each piece unique,” Potsa told 3DPrint.com.
Customers can choose a bracelet, a ring, or a small or large pendant, in a variety of different sizes and materials, such as 14k rose gold, silver, and yellow gold-plated brass.The campaign just launched, and hopes to raise €7,800 ($9,234).
While it’s obviously too late to order a customized piece of 3D printed OneDay jewelry for Christmas, all of the Early Bird rewards – a discount of about 10% – are scheduled to ship by this January, just in time for Valentine’s Day. For a pledge of $160, you will receive a gold plated ring or small pendant, with your choice of yellow or rose gold finish, while a $215 pledge gets you a silver ring or pendant.
If you really want to go all in, the Kickstarter special will set you back about $8,300, but you’ll get a ticket to Amsterdam and the chance to design your own 3D printed piece of OneDay jewelry with a Local Makers designer.
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