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Medical 3D Printing|South Korea Launches 3D Printed Protective Clothing for Seniors

3D printing technology is indeed reshaping various industries. Scientists from Korea have utilized 3D printer to create 3D printed protection pad for seniors to prevent from falling.


Park and Lee from Busan National University in South Korea proposed a design of a curved protective pad that can be printed directly from a patient scan, allowing personalized treatment-one of the biggest advantages of 3D printing in today's medical field. Reports from South Korea indicate that more and more elderly Koreans have fallen severely and must be hospitalized, which is clearly the assistance needed in this area. In fact, many elderly people stay in the hospital for a week or two-and often because of a broken hip.
 
Preventing elderly people from falling is becoming increasingly important. Wearing hip protectors can prevent falls or reduce injuries caused by falls. The researchers explained. "However, existing hip protectors are not suitable for everyday clothes; due to aesthetic limitations, they have not been widely used. Moreover, they are uncomfortable. Therefore, it is necessary to develop an optimized impact protector, taking full account of physical characteristics and movement. It is also necessary to improve the wearing satisfaction by designing the impact protector in a form suitable for the shape and movement of the human body while maintaining its protective performance. "
 
Park and Lee point out that, so far, 3D printing with any type of clothing has focused on fashion, from high fashion to high heels, and the results have been excellent.
 


The 3D modeling process includes creating a baseline for the body scan data, drawing contours, and then using pad contour-drawing curves along the patient's body to mimic the human body. After that, they created a hexagonal grid structure and completed the filling by transforming the grid structure according to the curve of the body.
 
The 3D printing pad was made by FDM 3D printing using a Cubicon Single 3D printer, which was chosen because of its ability to use more flexible materials. Therefore, flexible TPU is used to make filling materials.
 
Researchers divided the pads into several parts due to the limited printing size of the 3D printer. The researchers explained: "A radial segmentation method was used, which was divided into three parts from the center point of the pad and segmented at an angle of 120 °; an ellipse segmentation method was used to divide it into four parts based on edges and curved surfaces.
 


After removing the support, stitch the parts together. Overall, the parts proved to be "structurally flexible" and the modeling proved to be excellent for creating the necessary protection.
 
Through multiple iterative experiments, we developed a reasonable and sophisticated modeling method, and the results obtained are suitable for research in clothing and other fields. Existing 3D printing technologies have been deployed to produce very hard products; however, in this study, the printing conditions were precisely set taking into account the complex characteristics of flexible filament materials. Finally, we believe that our findings bode well for the possibility of printing complex and delicate shapes using 3D printing technology in the field of functional clothing. "