On April 20th and 21st, healthcare and 3D printing professionals from around the world gathered in San Francisco for the 3DHEALS conference, an annual event focused on 3D printing and medicine put on by healthcare 3D printing innovation platform 3DHEALS. This year’s conference expected over 300 attendees from more than 10 countries, with 45 speakers lined up to share their expertise. Healthcare and 3D printing both change and evolve so quickly that events like these always have something new, and this year’s 3DHEALS was no exception.
Day One of the conference featured several workshops dedicated to various aspects of 3D printing and healthcare. Prosthodontist Valerie Cooper led a workshop on how to create dentures with a new digital workflow, while Mayasari Lim from SE3D offered a hands-on workshop on bioprinting. Hannah Riedle from FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg gave a presentation on using a digital workflow to create medical anatomical models using open source software, and Erik Birkeneder from Nixon Peabody LLP offered advice on protecting intellectual property, just to name a few of the workshops that were given.
Day Two consisted of presentations from about 45 speakers on topics such as 3D printing in healthcare organizations; legal and regulatory updates; digital dentistry; and advanced materials updates. Panels focused on topics such as bioprinting, orthotics and prosthetics, and orthopedics.
A highlight of the 3DHEALS conference was the Pitch3D! startup competition, in which 10 young companies presented their pitches in front of a group of investors including GE Ventures, Asimov Ventures, Digital Industrialist, and others. The winner of the competition was Nanochon, a company that is developing and commercializing an implantable medical device. The device, which is designed to treat knee injuries in younger and more active patients, is based on 3D printing and a novel, nanostructured, synthetic material. The material effectively replicates true cartilage and replaces lost or damaged cartilage in the short term, while initiating new tissue growth and long-term healing.
- Fibretuff, a biomaterials company
- HoloSurg3D, which plans surgeries using augmented reality
- Holofil, provider of a 3D visualization device
- BioJet, a tissue engineering service provider
- Frontier Bio, manufacturer of an advanced bioprinter
- Axial3D, which converts 2D medical images to 3D volumetric data
- Silou Elle, which creates customized bras
The 3DHEALS event concluded with a “fireside chat” between Dr. Paul D’Urso, CEO of Anatomics Rx, which created the first successful customized sternum implant in the United States, and Penelope Heller, the recipient of the implant.
“In April 2017, Jenny organized the first ever 3DHEALS Global Conference and to date, it is the largest 3D printing for healthcare conference in the world,” Lim said before the conference, noting the work of Hui Jenny Chen, M.D., CEO and Founder of 3DHEALS. “With her relentless effort and amazing team, Jenny was able to gather healthcare professionals, entrepreneurs, developers, designers, regulatory experts, and investors all in one place. It was a huge success and I have no doubt that the 2018 conference will be another great one.”
There is certainly enough happening in the world of 3D printing and medicine to keep a conference like 3DHEALS going for many, many years. From the looks of this year’s event, 3DHEALS has the attention of many prominent people in the 3D printing and healthcare industries, and should only continue to grow as the industries do as well.
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