3D Printing, an Easy Pill to Pop

Disruptive technologies like Google Glass and microchip modelling clinical trials might be changing the healthcare sector. But the one like 3D printing is proving to be the crowd favourite.

Exhibit A – Project Daniel, results of Mick Ebeling’s brainchild, Not Impossible Labs.

It 3D printed limbs for the young victims of war-torn Sudan and enabled them to live an almost normal lives. This action brought two disruptive technologies – crowdsourcing and 3D printing – together, making living lives easier and possibly changing the way we look at 3D printing forever.

Blueprint is the key

As Project Daniel and Not Impossible Labs have demonstrated, an idea, a 3D printer, and connectivity can go miles when it comes to healthcare applications.

A new technology often means confusion, but crowdsourcing platforms are being established to make it more regulated and less chaotic so that companies can sign up for designs and have access to them. They also experiment and modify the existing models according to needs.

Following Not Impossible Labs’ steps, various companies like Formlabs and Thingiverse among others are expected to crowdsource their assets and available ideas to make lives better.

The threes of 3D printing

While Project Daniel and Not Impossible Labs demonstrate how 3D printing medical devices are gaining popularity, talks of 3D printed organs are an equally interesting venture. This is where 3D bioprinting comes in, which is set to be a respite for the patients waiting for lifesaving transplants.

3D printing’s another accolade are the 3D printed drugs. Imagine having your life saving pills in the colour and flavour you desire in your required dose and shape. These innovative products and ideas are still in their initial phase and cater to a somewhat niche market and are not well commercialised.

The market for 3D printed drugs and 3D bioprinting are estimated to develop over the next 20 years. But in the coming years, even niche market of 3D printed drugs, at least, would have a relative impact on the pharmaceuticals and biotechnology sector, contributing close to a billion dollars in revenues!

3D everywhere

But healthcare sector is not the only one that will see changes brought forth by 3D printers.

3D printing technology’s impact on the market is tremendous. Revenue wise, 3D printers are to be credited for contributing an impressive 35% of the total market. The market generates an approximately $1 billion and this number is estimated to increase twenty-fold in a mere seven years, by 2025, to $20 billion, exhibiting how determinedly it creates income for the developers despite being in a nascent stage.

3D printing, whether in blueprints or hardware, has shown how valuable it can be. Its flexibility and resourcefulness in all sectors are drawing eyes and attention.

Without a doubt, 3D printing is the future.


Sachi Mulmi is a researcher with Frost & Sullivan. She can be reached at sachi.mulmi@frost.com


Sapan Agarwal drives content and marketing for Frost & Sullivan. Sapan is based out of Kuala Lumpur Malaysia and can be reached at sapan.agarwal@frost.com | +603 6204 5830

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